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!

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* 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.

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  • Nancy

    February 10, 2017 at 10:17 PM Reply

    I love dim sum and I’m always looking for some new recipes! Thank you!!

  • Rae

    February 10, 2017 at 10:49 PM Reply

    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!

  • andrea

    February 10, 2017 at 11:43 PM Reply

    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!

  • Adrienne

    February 10, 2017 at 11:45 PM Reply

    Do you think this char sue can be made with beef brisket? I don’t eat pork.

  • Stephanie

    February 10, 2017 at 11:46 PM Reply

    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 :)

  • heather (delicious not gorgeous)

    February 11, 2017 at 12:15 AM Reply

    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!

  • Stacy

    February 11, 2017 at 12:19 AM Reply

    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.

  • Jiann

    February 11, 2017 at 12:47 AM Reply

    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?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 11, 2017 at 12:47 PM Reply

      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)

  • June

    February 11, 2017 at 1:18 AM Reply

    Omg totally trying this, it looks amazing Mandy– genius!

  • Joyce @ Sun Diego Eats

    February 11, 2017 at 2:03 AM Reply

    *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.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 11, 2017 at 12:48 PM Reply

      Joyce, you’re right. Rice flour is NOT brown rice flour or sticky/sweet rice flour :)

  • Lisa

    February 11, 2017 at 2:34 AM Reply

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

  • Kari

    February 11, 2017 at 6:32 AM Reply

    Sounds delicious! I’ve never had something like it!

  • Jackie Liang

    February 11, 2017 at 6:46 AM Reply

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

  • christine

    February 11, 2017 at 7:51 AM Reply

    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!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 11, 2017 at 12:49 PM Reply

      Christine, I’ve never tried freezing them after baking, but sure! I guess I would reheat them in a 180C oven, but I’m not sure for how long.

  • Sonia

    February 11, 2017 at 11:44 AM Reply

    I’ve had the pineapple char siu buns but not this pull-apart variant! Most intriguing and delicious xx

  • Oko

    February 12, 2017 at 12:16 AM Reply

    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!

    • Oko

      February 12, 2017 at 12:47 AM Reply

      Sorry! One more question! What type of yeast should we use? Active, instant, etc? :0

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 12, 2017 at 2:32 AM Reply

      Oko, dark miso is even darker then red miso, but red miso will do, too. White rice flourius not glutinous/sticky rice flour. It’s like the one in the link. I believe it’s ground short grain rice ;)

      • Samantha

        June 2, 2017 at 3:30 AM Reply

        Hi Mandy, do you think I can grind up jasmine rice in the food processor and use as white rice flour?

        • mandy@ladyandpups

          June 2, 2017 at 12:21 PM Reply

          Samantha, I don’t think white rice flour is made from jasmine rice, but probably the short grain variety. I would suggesting grinding Asian short grain rice instead :)

  • Phoebe

    February 12, 2017 at 12:25 AM Reply

    You combined my favorite meat and favorite bread together, I can’t help drooling!

  • Shirley | live4happiness2day

    February 12, 2017 at 1:22 AM Reply

    These look simply amazing, now I’m so hungry I don’t know what to do with myself. :) Thanks for sharing, I’ll definitely try your recipe one of these days.

  • Jenny | The Baking Skillet

    February 12, 2017 at 3:30 AM Reply

    This is making my mouth water! Will have to carefully plan and select a day to make these. Thanks for sharing

  • Abbe@This is How I Cook

    February 12, 2017 at 7:13 AM Reply

    Now I need to revise my entire weekend. Thanks for this!

  • Carlos At Spoonabilities

    February 12, 2017 at 11:04 AM Reply

    Those pull-apart look so delicious with the yummy filling. Love the step-by-step photos!

  • carolyn

    February 12, 2017 at 1:13 PM Reply

    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???

  • Laura

    February 14, 2017 at 9:53 PM Reply

    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!

  • Marianne

    February 16, 2017 at 9:32 PM Reply

    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! :)

  • ellie

    February 18, 2017 at 5:26 PM Reply

    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 :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 18, 2017 at 11:50 PM Reply

      Ellie, I used dried strawberry (still a bit soft), not freeze dried, but I guess freeze dried could work too. Or you can just omit the strawberry if you can’t find it :)

      • ellie

        February 19, 2017 at 8:10 PM Reply

        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 :)

  • Allie

    March 6, 2017 at 10:03 AM Reply

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

  • george

    March 14, 2017 at 4:43 AM Reply

    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

  • BnT

    March 27, 2017 at 6:59 AM Reply

    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!

  • Rebekah

    April 10, 2017 at 11:30 AM Reply

    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!

  • Samantha

    June 2, 2017 at 3:32 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy,

    Do you know if the finished buns freeze/ reheat well?

    • Samantha

      June 2, 2017 at 3:35 AM Reply

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

    • Samantha

      June 6, 2017 at 2:20 PM Reply

      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!

  • hayley

    April 5, 2018 at 6:17 AM Reply

    that looks beyond amazing

  • Cate

    July 31, 2018 at 1:59 AM Reply

    I’ve been contemplating a savory craquelin like topping for a stuffed bun. This bun topping, although sweet, sounds interesting. I plan to make this for my brother’s family in a week.

    The cat eye hand pies are beautiful. So enticing in shape and color.

    I assume you use Chinese soy sauce in the fresh pork filling. The flavor differences between soy sauce by country is not subtle. While I’ve gotten away with Japanese soy sauce in some Korean dishes, I find the wrong soy sauce can skew flavor, make a dish neither here nor there.

    Do you have any recommendations of soy sauce brands that would be available in the US? I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, so near many Asian markets.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 31, 2018 at 11:43 AM Reply

      Cate, I don’t have a single go-to brand of soy sauce I use. But you’re right, soy sauce varies. Since this is a Cantonese recipe, I would say use Lee Kum Kee Double Deluxe soy sauce, which is a common and affordable option I sometimes use.

  • Cate

    August 1, 2018 at 3:33 AM Reply

    @Mandy, thank you. Lee Kum Kee is sold at the Chinese grocery stores here so it’s convenient to purchase.

    I was excited to read the announcement about publication of your cookbook in 2019. As a general rule I have a “no buy” cookbook policy since I scaled my collection down from over 100 to about 30 back in 2008. But I look forward to your cookbook as I find your approach to food astonishingly unique and insightful in flavor and process. Your recipes are more than just food, they are an intriguing exploration of cultures, life and self. When I cook your recipes I discover something about myself in the process, and unearth old memories of people I once knew and loved. Truly food for the soul.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 1, 2018 at 11:26 AM Reply

      Cate, that’s so kind of you to say :) I really appreciate it. Thanks!!!!

  • Razel Taltavull

    November 2, 2018 at 5:21 AM Reply

    Hello Mandy, can I make the Charsiu Cat-eye hand pie in advance and freeze it for more than a day? Do I have to thaw it before baking or bake it frozen? Thank you very much.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 2, 2018 at 1:05 PM Reply

      Razel, yes you can. Just bake them straight from the freezer :)


    April 14, 2020 at 2:00 AM Reply

    Hi, I was wondering if I can make this without cutting the pork into pieces? I just wanted a whole one I can use then cut into smaller slices for different projects, how would I change the directions? Thank you!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      April 14, 2020 at 2:15 AM Reply

      Angela, I’m not sure i understand. If you’re looking to make a big solid piece of char siu, this recipe is not suitable :)

      • ANGELA

        April 19, 2020 at 6:07 AM Reply

        That actually answered my question lol thank you!

  • Karen

    May 10, 2020 at 9:53 PM Reply

    I see the crust on this recipe is slightly different than your other po lo bao (omit the custard powder, salt, and slightly different butter amount and AP/cake flour). What’s the main difference between the 2 crust?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      May 11, 2020 at 1:49 PM Reply

      Karen, I was trying to avoid custard powder because most ppl don’t have it, but you can use both. The po lo bao recipe prolly had a drier crust if I remember correctly.

  • Angela

    March 5, 2021 at 2:04 AM Reply

    I made this filling with another one of your pineapple bun recipes (INCREDIBLE), but replaced the pork with chicken thigh (for health reasons). To fit my tastebuds, I lessened the sugars (I did find the original recipe a tad sweet, prolly cuz the dates/honey) + added more aromatics and it’s definitely one of the best things I put in my mouth lol thank you for the recipe :)

  • Jude

    January 30, 2023 at 5:44 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy! Huge fan, made my first recipe from your book last week (slab pie). This is the second recipe of yours I’m trying. Can I also freeze the pineapple crust, or does that have to be made fresh and draped on top of the thawed buns? I only want to bake 4 buns at a time, so Im hoping I can freeze the pineapple crust as well as the buns. Thanks for the delicious adventures!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 12, 2023 at 2:43 AM Reply

      Hi Jude, I believe you can, like I don’t see why not :)

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