WHAT:  The new poster child of dim sum-scape in Hong Kong, the char siu pineapple buns, pull-apart style!

WHY:  Do you need to reason to eat a soft, squishy bun stuffed with sweet char siu pork and topped with crunchy “pineapple” crusts?  The entirety of happiness all in one bite, pillowy, crunchy, salty, sweet, gooey, porky and buttery?  Do ya?

HOW:  Burn all the other recipes that are dumbed down and one-dimensional.  Here’s a thorough recipe to show you how to make them like a pro, either with fresh pork shoulders (my preference), or with store-bought char siu pork.  But what really makes this recipe different is how the delicate balance of flavors are re-imagined.  Instead of the typical, cornstarch-thickened sauce that screams boring, we are going to re-create the stickiness by mixing in honey, ground dates and dried strawberries.  Not only do they provide a natural gooey-ness, they also bring a hidden fruity tone to the flavor-profile, making these sweet and salty buns unstoppably addictive.

By the way, most of the recipes in DIM SUM MONTH is designed to be prepared ahead of time.  Make each items and store them in the freezer, and at the end of the month, we’re going to have a dim sum blowout party.  See ya!

* You can make the filling with fresh pork, or store-bought char siu.  I personally like the fresh pork-version better because it gives me more control in the seasonings (my store-bought char siu may taste different from yours).  



    FILLING WITH FRESH PORK: (updated 02/24/2017)
  • 12.7 oz (360 grams) fatty pork shoulder
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 tbsp (13 grams) toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp (60 grams) honey
  • 2 tbsp (36 grams) oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (20 grams) soy sauce, (updated from 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp (5 grams) dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp (7 grams) dark miso paste
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) water
  • 14~15 (100 grams) pitted dates
  • 5 (10 grams) dried strawberrry
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 8.8 oz (250 grams) store-bought char siu, the fatty part
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp (13 grams) toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp (50 grams) honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp (27 grams) oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp (8 grams) soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp (8 grams) dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp (7 grams) dark miso paste
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) water
  • 14~15 (100 grams) pitted dates
  • 5 (10 grams) dried strawberrry
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • DOUGH:
  • 2 cups (242 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) white rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (100 grams) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp (37 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 tbsp (60 grams) unsalted butter, soften
  • 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for egg wash)
  • 1 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1/2/ cup + 2 tbsp (90 grams) powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (93 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda


  1. MAKE FILLING WITH FRESH PORK: Dice the pork shoulders into 1/3" (1 cm) cubes, then toss evenly with flour. In a large pot, heat toasted sesame oil over medium-high heat, then cook the pork until evenly browned. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the fat in the pot. Turn the heat down to low, then add the finely sliced onions plus 1 tbsp of water. Scrape the pots to dissolve any brown bits and cook for 15~20 min, stirring frequently, until the onions are caramelized. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 min, then add the pork back into the pot, along with honey, oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, dark miso and water. Simmer, uncovered, for approx 30 min until the liquid has mostly evaporated (see photo). Meanwhile, grind pitted dates and dried strawberries in a food-processor until turned into a thick paste. Stir the date-mixture and apple cider vinegar into the pork sauce until even. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours until completely cold.
  2. MAKE FILLING WITH STORE-BOUGHT CHAR-SIU: Dice the char siu into 1/3" (1 cm) cubes, set aside. In a pot, cook minced onion with toasted sesame oil over low heat for approx 20 min (add a bit of water if the bottom starts to burn), until the onion is caramelized. Add minced garlic and cook for another min, then add the diced char siu, honey, oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, dark miso and water. Simmer for 5~10 min until most liquid has evaporated (see photo). Meanwhile, grind pitted dates and dried strawberries in a food-processor until turned into a thick paste. Stir the date-mixture and apple cider vinegar into the pork sauce until even. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours until completely cold.
  3. MAKE THE BUNS: In a stand-mixer with hook-attachment, combine all-purpose flour, white rice flour, yeast, salt, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk and water. Knead on medium speed until a soft dough as formed. Add the unsalted butter, 1 tbsp at a time, and knead until fully incorporated. Turn to high speed and knead for another 5 min until the dough is very elastic and smooth. The dough should be sticky but pulls away cleanly from the bowl when the machine is running. If the dough is not sticky at all, add 2 tsp more water, or if too wet, add a bit more flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until fully doubled, approx 2~4 hours depending.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 12 equal portions. Shape each into small balls, then stuff each ball with about 1 heaping tbsp of filling and pinch to close. Repeat with the rest, then arrange them inside a 8 x 11 inch retangle pan (or 9" square pan, or any other container you'd like to serve them in), then cover tightly with plastic wrap. YOU CAN NOW FREEZE THEM UNTIL NEEDED (you can do this a few days ahead). A Few hours before baking (at least 4 hours to be safe), leave the pan in a warm place and let thaw and proof until fully doubled again.
  5. Meanwhile, make the crust. In a stand-mixer or food-processor, cream unsalted butter and yolk together until creamy and pale. Add coconut cream and powdered sugar, and cream again until fluffy, approx 5 min. Add flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and mix until just combined. Transfer in between 2 pieces of parchment, then shape into a square. Refrigerate until cold, then roll them out into a sheet slightly larger than your pan. Brush the proofed buns with egg white, then drape the crust over the top (don't worry about tearing). Trim off any excess on the edges, then brush the crust with egg white.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F/200 C for 18~20 min, until the crust is golden browned. Serve immediately.


Another classic dimsum other than charsiu bun, is charsiu hand pies. The recipe for the filling is the same as the above.  To make these “cat eye” shapes:  Roll puff pastry together until you have a log about 1 1/2″(4 cm) in diameter, which you cut into 1/2″(1.5 cm) thick disks. Roll into a circle, place the filling in the middle, then close like a dumplings. Invert the pie so the seam-side now faces down, then press the tips down to refine the shape. Freeze until hard then keep in an air-tight bag until needed. Brush with egg-wash, then bake in a 430 F/220 C oven for 25 min till golden browned.


  • maybe this is a dumb question, but why are these “pineapple” buns? I’m assuming it’s just an aesthetically-based moniker because the crust vaguely resembles a pineapple? Either way they look great and I can’t wait to try making them!

  • Wouhaooo I love this recipe, the pictures, the feelings! The knife on the picture is also incredible. It’s possible to know more about it? Thank you for your inspirations and creation!

  • Yes! This will absolutely, most definitely be happening soon. I’m too lazy to do the baozi process of rolling, filling and pinching into a little puff, I love this middle ground even if the ingredient list is expansive – it sounds like the most wonderfully complex char siu I’ll ever have the pleasure of making or having, hah. It’s on my list! Thank you for the recipe :)

  • dates and strawberries as the sauce?! not sure how you even come up with these things, but i’m glad you share it with the rest of us! i love bolo baos, but for some reason i haven’t loved pineapple crusts on char siu baos in bakeries/restaurants. maybe it just means i need to make them myself!

  • Thickening with dates, honey, and dried strawberries? Are you kidding me? Your genius makes me feel like I’ve never cooked before. I absolutely have to, must, try these.

  • I’m swooning. I must make this as soon as possible.

    If I make the bread without filling, should it be baked for less than 18 minutes? Also, how does this bread’s texture compare to your pineapple bun recipe from 2014?

    • Jiann, the bun recipe is slight adapted from my old ones, more streamlined. I would still bake for a full 18~20 minutes without filling. (perhaps a bit longer because there’s more dough)

  • *DREAMS* can finally put the rest of my rice flour to use (after I buy a pound of pork shoulder and find dried strawberries somewhere but still)

    P.S. I’m assuming that white rice flour is the same as rice flour – but not the same as brown rice flour or sweet white rice flour.

  • These look delicious! Love your blog and recipes! Will add this to my things to try making =) Thanks for sharing!

  • Mandy, Mandy, Mandy, you are too good to be true. What? Char-Sui-Bau using the Pineapple dough. Yes! Yes! Yes!

  • These sound incredible! I’m getting ready for a massive freezer meal prep adventure as we await for the arrival of our first child and this would be a great breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack inclusion! Would you freeze after baking and re-heat? How would you suggest heating for best results? Thanks so much!

  • Hi Mandy,
    I want to make this but had a few questions about the ingredients. What is dark miso? Is it the same as red miso? Also, what is white rice flour? Is it the same as gluttonous rice flour or is it the red bag? Thank you for sharing this!! It reminds me of ordering dim sum in HK!

  • I love your site! This I have to try, but my question is the picture of ingredients with fresh pork looks like a ginger root is there, but not in the actual recipe???

  • We made these on Sunday and couldn’t wait until the end of the month to eat them! It was such a fun process and an amazing recipe. The surprise strawberry moments are my favorite. Thank you!

  • Ohh this sounds nice and I can put them in the freezer? And make them ahead? I think thats the best part.. Okay the look damn tasty that’s the best part! Thanks for sharing! (And love all the little how to pics!) – maybe I have to plan a little dimsum party somewhere this month! :)

  • I’ve been dreaming of making these since you first posted the recipe, they look amazing and sound just incredible. I’ve a question about the strawberries, though: these are dried ones, not freeze-dried, right? It looks like it in the photo, but well, better safe than sorry, right? I’m having a bit of trouble finding non-freeze-dried strawberries around here – are yours entirely plain, or are they slightly sugared? If they aren’t, do you think sugared would work too? Perhaps I could just leave out a tbsp of the honey in that case, or so? It’d be great if you could tell me what you think :)

      • Thanks for your reply, Mandy! I’ll look a bit more and see if I can’t find dried ones without added sugar somewhere, but failing that, I’ll go for freeze dried. I do kinda want to use them because they’re such an intriguing ingredient to me in this dish. I’ll report back :)

  • These are absolutely beautiful. Holy crap 0.0 Your photography makes food look so incredibly enticing.

  • gimme dim sum… can’t you fly by and make me some? PLEASE !! You have outdone yourself this month girlfriend. Dim sum is hard to come by on the rock..gioza / pot stickers are about all you will find. Thank you for coming to the rescue with these recipes xxg

  • Hi Mandy, is it possible to make this recipe with fresh strawberries instead? I can’t seem to find any markets in my area with dried ones. Do you have any suggestions for substitutions? Thank you!

  • Oh boy, I pushed this recipe to its limits. I used date paste instead of dried dates and had no strawberries, but that part turned out fine. I didn’t have whole milk or sweetened condensed, so I ended up substituting a cup of heavy cream, a tablespoon or two of water, and a tablespoon or two of corn syrup for the milk, SC milk, and water. We didn’t do the crust, but they still turned out lovely. I also don’t have a stand mixer, so I used the bread blade on my food processor, and it worked just fine.

    Thanks for the fun new recipe!

    • disregard, looking at the other comments more closely, seems like they may freeze / reheat well. Will try it!

    • Made the filling (fresh pork) yesterday and just finished baking the buns. Can’t believe how easy and fun it was to make! Had to sub in fish sauce since I didn’t have oyster sauce on hand and the filling was still delicious! Thanks Mandy!

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