British Columbia

Dim sum-inspired board game invites players to learn about Chinese culture

Steam Up: A Feast of Dim Sum features five popular Chinese dishes, including shrimp dumplings and barbecue pork buns.

Co-creator Pauline Kong also hopes to bring representation to the tabletop game industry

Steam Up is inspired by Chinese dim sum, a meal that features a range of small Chinese dishes, traditionally enjoyed at a restaurant with family and friends. (Submitted by Pauline Kong)

In the midst of COVID-19, Surrey-based nurse Pauline Kong needed a way to take her mind off the daily stresses of the pandemic — so she created a board game inspired by her Asian heritage.

"I thought it would be an awesome opportunity if I were able to create a game," Kong said. 

Steam Up: A Feast of Dim Sum is a board game that features dim sum, small Chinese dishes traditionally enjoyed at a restaurant. The game includes five popular Chinese dishes, including shrimp dumplings and barbecue pork buns. 

"This is a perfect way to be able to introduce dim sum to people and provide a nostalgic feeling for those who are familiar with it," she said. 

The board game features five popular Chinese dim sum dishes, including shrimp dumplings and barbecue pork buns. (Submitted by Pauline Kong)

"[Dim sum] is shared between family and friends during breakfast and lunch and it's usually served on a turntable," Kong said, adding that the turntable — or a large lazy susan — was one of the inspirations for the game. 

The game has been play-tested as a tabletop and online board game by family and friends after its design was completed around March this year, Kong said.

To produce Steam Up, Kong started a Kickstarter campaign, which has raised more than $580,000 with the help of over 8,250 backers from around the world.

Kong said she hopes the game will provide an opportunity for people to play and learn about Chinese culture in a fun and immersive way — while also providing some much-needed representation in the industry. 

"There's not enough Asian creators and female creators in the board game industry and we think this is an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the industry because we are able to bring this culture through food."


Jessica Cheung is a writer and producer at CBC Vancouver. Have a news tip? Email