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Dim sum, take 3: tell me about cheung fun?

tatamagouche Nov 19, 2008 02:11 PM

What's the ideal texture? Is it more about texture than flavor? I find these noodles singularly uninteresting, and wonder what I'm missing.

Thanks again!

  1. tatamagouche Mar 23, 2010 07:26 AM

    I started this thread over a year and a half ago, and now have another question: I've recently seen them translated as "dumplings." Are they really technically considered a form of dumpling? To me they're more like crepes or roll-ups, as K K noted...

    And one more dumpling question. What is the pictured type called, when they're sort of open pockets?

    Thanks! I've sure been asking a lot of dim sum questions over the past couple of years.

    47 Replies
    1. re: tatamagouche
      luckyfatima Mar 23, 2010 09:08 AM

      Cheung fun is not a dumpling, it is really a large flat noodle, I guess. The ones in the pic are made with glutinous rice and I have no idea how to say them in Chinese but usually on menus I have seen them as "crystal prawn" dumplings since the translucent dumpling skin is like crystal.

      1. re: tatamagouche
        ipsedixit Mar 23, 2010 09:12 AM

        Cheng fun are not dumplings.

        The pictures looks sort of like a shu mai of sort.

        1. re: tatamagouche
          PeterL Mar 23, 2010 09:36 AM

          As others have said, cheung fun is not a dumpling. I can't tell from your photo, it's kind of bleached out. Can you fix it with MS photo?

          1. re: PeterL
            tatamagouche Mar 24, 2010 08:32 AM

            Here's a photo from somewhere else: http://www.lookwe.com/uploadfiles/jia...

            And looking at the website of a different Chinese restaurant in Denver, I saw yet more open pouches. So these aren't familiar to you all?

            1. re: tatamagouche
              raytamsgv Mar 24, 2010 08:52 AM

              I've never seen these before. I don't suppose you have the Chinese text for these. I'm making a wild guess here: I think the filling may be shrimp with some pork. It actually reminds me of sieu mai fillings, but they usually don't use rice-based wrappers.

              1. re: raytamsgv
                ipsedixit Mar 24, 2010 09:15 AM

                raytamsgv is right.

                Those look like mutant shu mai to me. Almost like someone wasn't able to wrap them properly and just gave up.

                Contrast that with the pic below, which is a more standard iteration of shu mai.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  tatamagouche Mar 26, 2010 08:14 AM

                  Interesting. I'd assumed they were a variant rather than a mutant, but you must be right!

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    alkapal Apr 18, 2012 06:22 AM

                    mutant shu mai -- LOL

            2. re: tatamagouche
              K K Mar 23, 2010 09:49 AM

              Yeah cheung fun is made with grounded rice paste, almost into a milk form, then steamed. Once it turns into a smooth sheet consistency, ingredients are added then rolled up. That's pretty much how they are made at dim sum restaurants and for places in Hong Kong like Tong Kee (open only at night and a favorite late night haunt for taxi drivers) . Dumplings they are not, as answered by the other folks, as the "skins" are not made with flour.

              Plain cheung fun can also be stir fried....some dim sum restaurants offer this, stir fried with spicy xo sauce (not made with XO of course, just a marketing gimmick to make it sound elegant like aged spirits), soy sauce, and maybe another dipping sauce on the side.

              The dumpling you linked comes from your website, which you labeled as scallop dumplings or "dai ze gow" in Cantonese. This is the first time I've seen them in an open pouch form, and I would guess this is either 1) intentional (which makes no sense whatsoever, first of all the dumpling skin is supposed to enclose the juices of the scallop or what not and by creating a blantant opening the goodness is going to evaporate and dry itself out....it would be a morbid mortal sin to do this to ha gow/shrimp dumplings) or 2) laziness of craftsmanship. Now if this were done Northern banquet style, it would look like those medieval leather pouch used to hold gold coins but more elegant.

              1. re: K K
                tatamagouche Mar 23, 2010 12:14 PM

                Interesting, guys, thanks. I just wondered how far the definition of dumpling extended, since I didn't think cheung fun really qualified either.

                And K K, how do you technically define "gow"?

                1. re: tatamagouche
                  K K Mar 23, 2010 12:47 PM

                  Gow 餃 (or Jiao in Mandarin) is pretty much the Chinese word for dumpling and bears the same character for Gyo (as in Gyoza = Jiaozi in Mandarin).

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiaozi has a better general explanation.

                  For dim sum, it's pretty much the steamed dough skin with stuffing inside with the key being the outer skin wrapping stuff. Some dim sum seafood restaurants might serve won ton noodles or shui gow in soup (where won ton is a kind of Cantonese dumpling, ditto for "shui gow" which are larger Cantonese dumplings with a lot of shrimp, some pork fat, woodear funghi, maybe bamboo shoots and mushrooms with a dried tilefish and shrimp shell enhanced broth)

                  1. re: tatamagouche
                    raytamsgv Mar 23, 2010 12:54 PM

                    I agree with KK. It looks like a scallop dumpling. I'm surprised that it is not sealed--that would dry out and cool down the dumpling very quickly.

                    There has been a number of threads about the definition of "gow/gao" (usually in comparison with "bao"). In Cantonese food, "gow/gao" is usually a dumpling that consists of meat and/or veggies completely enclosed by a wrapper, which can be flour or rice based. However, won tons are excluded from that, as ipsedixit has pointed out in the past. I think sieu mai (pork/shrimp dumplings) are not considered "gow/gao" because they are not completely sealed, or they may have just had good PR.

                    I'd say that cheung fun is more related to noodles than dumplings.

                    1. re: raytamsgv
                      K K Mar 23, 2010 01:27 PM

                      Well while won tons are not "gao's" or "jiao's" in that specific Chinese grouping sense, but from a generic standpoint in English, one can still group them in the dumpling category in the loosest of terms. Beyond that, it's all semantics at this point. And plus Cantonese folks don't have that many kinds of dumplings to begin with if you don't include the ones at dim sum. Yeah siu mai is a bit of a strange animal, but yet you find siu mai skins next to the dumpling skins at some supermarkets....

                      You are right, cheung fun is more like "noodle". The steaming method of cheung fun or the skin, is practically similar to making ho fun although I don't think there are any massive differences. It's synonymous to generic pasta dough and then how you cut each thread or shred up to form the kind of noodle you want. At my local Chinese supermarket, the same place in Chinatown that makes cheung fun for home, also sells these cheung fun flat sheets (fun pei) that you can use for whatever purpose. There's also sliced up ho fun noodles (made from that fun pei sheet) which you can use with soup (ho fun noodle soup), or stir fry (e.g. beef chow fun, also an easy filler albeit overpriced dish at dim sum restaurants). Then there's also a more rare "lai fun" which is a very soft thin tubular noodle. The versions in Hong Kong are virtually translucent and are a common favorite to be served in broth and topped with roast goose leg (as seen on the Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Hong Kong).

                      And to confuse things more, cheung fun, ho fun, lai fun, fun pei, and to an extent mai fun, are all derived from grounded rice paste/"milk", and grouped under "rice noodles". The textures differ altogether once you group the subcategory of cheung fun/fun pei/ho fun as one when comparing it with the rest. So when someone says "Cantonese rice noodle, one can't help but wonder which of the variants that person is referring to!

                      1. re: K K
                        ipsedixit Mar 23, 2010 02:38 PM

                        Why can't har gow be just, well, you know, har gow??

                        And why can't won tons just be won tons?

                        Why do we have to squeeze those foodstuffs into another, entirely inapt, category like "dumplings" or "noodles" or baos?

                        Seriously, for example, people never ask whether a hot dog is a sandwich. A hot dog is just a hot dog. Nothing more, nothing less. It's understood and accepted.

                        Why then the angst over things like shu mai, har gow, or even far afield things like cheung fun and chow fun? They are what they are. A chow fun is just chow fun. Nothing more, nothing less.

                        Rant over.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          raytamsgv Mar 23, 2010 04:26 PM

                          I think that people who unfamiliar with Chinese dishes are trying to understand the dishes within the framework of existing knowledge, hence the grouping of items.

                          1. re: raytamsgv
                            ipsedixit Mar 23, 2010 04:37 PM

                            It's like when I tried to get my grandfather to eat a calzone.

                            He said, "what's that?"

                            I said, "think very large baked dumpling"


                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              K K Mar 23, 2010 04:51 PM

                              The angst is caused by the English translations, a large part in the way restaurants do their menus. Ray's right.

                              The English word "rice noodle" doesn't pinpoint what type it is, but if you spell it out phoentically like cheung fun, ho fun. It's clear to us but not others. I bet you if you look at various dim sum restaurants in California, the way they translate cheung fun into English is going to vary even if slightly.

                              When you have generic names that apply to variants within a "category" (yes blame the English language, soup dumplings typically = xiaolongbao/XLB but not equal to xiao long tang bao if ordering inside a Din Tai Fung (where the XLB is brothless and rests in a bowl of broth, hideous concept I know), and tang bao could mean the monster "dumpling" in steamer where you drink the soup with a straw like the one Anthony Bourdain had in No Reservations Shanghai, and then confusion ensues except those familiar with all variants. And then we're back to that thread where shark's fin soup dumpling in dim sum was discussed in the soup dumplings thread.

                              So perhaps we should do away with categories and just call them by their proper name. It's not really spaghetti, its spaghettini or angel hair. But we tell each other it's Italian noodles in Chinese, and be done with it :-)

                              1. re: K K
                                tatamagouche Mar 24, 2010 06:41 AM

                                Um, ipsedixit, wasn't it you who was a stickler for definitions here? :)


                                Anyway, I like knowing my ass from my elbow—or in this case from my har gow from my wontons from my XLB, etc....

                                1. re: tatamagouche
                                  ipsedixit Mar 24, 2010 09:12 AM

                                  I *am* a stickler for definitions. Andt that's why I find it so confounding why people need to squeeze certain dim sum food items into inappropriate and inapt categories, like "dumplings" or "bao".

                                  A shu mai is just that, a shu mai. Nothing more, nothing less. What is a definition of a shu mai? Shrimp, pork (or some other meat) filling wrapped in a water-based dough skin, usu. uncovered on top.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    tatamagouche Mar 24, 2010 09:33 AM

                                    OK, on that note: how close am I?

                                    The general term for dumpling is gow in Cantonese, jiaozi in Mandarin (and gyoza in Japan).

                                    Under the term jiaozi, they may be boiled, steamed, or fried. If they are fried, they are known as guo tie (or potstickers in the US). Under the term gow, they’re usually steamed. Dumplings are made from unrisen wheat flour, are crescent shaped, crimped like a fan at the edges, and generally eaten “dry” with dipping sauce.

                                    In Japan, gyoza may be fried and then steamed, boiled, or deep-fried.

                                    Wontons have thinner unrisen wheat-flour skins, are usually pouch shaped or triangular, and may be boiled and served in soup or fried. Some of you say they’re a type of dumpling, some of you say they’re not; for those of you who don’t, is it a matter of the shape or the thickness, or…? Also, are deep-fried (as opposed to pan-fried) wontons an American thing?

                                    Siumai, like wontons, have a thinner wheat-flour skin and are usually pouch shaped, but they’re often open on top.

                                    Bao is the general term for round, pouched buns, using risen dough.

                                    Xiao long bao are a sort of crossbreed: they have the shape of bao, but like jiaozi they use unrisen dough. And, of course, they contain broth.

                                    To complicate matters, har gow and some other seafood dumplings, however, are made from rice flour. What are examples of the latter?

                                    Momos are Tibetan dumplings, which may be steamed or fried; shaped in round pouches or crescents. Sometimes they may use risen dough, which would not qualify them as dumplings by Chinese standards, but it doesn’t seem to matter in Tibet.

                                    1. re: tatamagouche
                                      ipsedixit Mar 24, 2010 10:08 AM

                                      Bravo! I think you've just aced your dissertation exam. :-)

                                      I don't believe deep-fried wontons are traditional Chinese or Taiwanese fare, although I could be wrong. I believe they are more of an American-Chinese creation.

                                      For me what really differentiates wontons from dumplings, aside from shape (wontons are pouch like, dumplings more crescent shaped), is the fact that wontons are usually served in soup (either with or without noodles). Rarely, if ever are wontons traditionally eaten dry a la dumplings.

                                      As to other examples of dim sum type seafood dumpling creations, those can go on and on. There's a joint in Los Angeles that has prawn shu mai topped with caviar, etc.

                                      And don't forget things like mandoo, or even things like Pelmini or Pierogi.


                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        tatamagouche Mar 24, 2010 10:32 AM

                                        Woohoo! Thanks!

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          K K Mar 24, 2010 12:37 PM

                                          You can find deep fried won tons at certain dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong. I definitely prefer my won tons boiled and served in a broth vs deep fried.

                                          1. re: K K
                                            tatamagouche Mar 25, 2010 03:53 PM

                                            And: two more questions. First: at dim sum today, this was called a panfried leek dumpling, trans. banh he chien. I've seen this type before—it's unrisen dough, semitranslucent, and spherical rather than crescent, so I'm a bit confused, esp. because when I Google the foreign (to me) phrase, I get Vietnamese sites! Can anyone clarify?

                                            1. re: tatamagouche
                                              K K Mar 25, 2010 04:14 PM

                                              Pan fried leek (chive) dumpling in Cantonese is gau choy gow 韭菜餃

                                              Enter this in flickr and you will see numerous take on this dim sum item (although mostly steamed)


                                              The panfried version is Dzeen Gau Choy Gow 煎韭菜餃

                                              The photo you've enclosed of the leek dumpling looks like a panfried beefy siu mai. The skin is supposed to be slightly gummy, transluscent like a ha gow's, but your pic makes it look like it is a siu mai type skin enclosure.

                                            2. re: K K
                                              tatamagouche Mar 25, 2010 03:54 PM

                                              And, second question: this was listed as pork sweet rice sticky dumpling/banh thit chien. Never had anything like this. The shell was sweet, almost doughnut like; the filling was pork and mushrooms in a sort of gravy. Familiar to anyone? Again, thanks!

                                              1. re: tatamagouche
                                                K K Mar 25, 2010 04:17 PM

                                                The pork sweet rice sticky dumpling is called hahm shui gok 鹹水角.

                                                Here's the English wiki entry for it under "dim sum"

                                                Haam Sui Gaau (鹹水餃, salt-water (i.e. savoury) stuffed-dumpling, alternatively 鹹水角 (haam Sui Gok): deep fried oval-shaped dumpling made with rice-flour and filled with pork and chopped vegetables. The rice-flour surrounding is sweet and sticky, while the inside is slightly salty.

                                                1. re: K K
                                                  tatamagouche Mar 25, 2010 04:42 PM

                                                  I've learned more about dim sum from these two threads, I tell ya! Thanks!

                                                  1. re: tatamagouche
                                                    ipsedixit Mar 26, 2010 08:56 AM


                                                    This is a pretty interesting article about the dying art of dim sum. While I loathe the indiscriminate and lazy use of the term "dumpling" it is still a good, informative read nonetheless.



                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                      K K Mar 26, 2010 09:42 AM

                                                      Great article, thanks for linking.

                                                      I've heard stories from family who go back to Hong Kong every year, and they've mentioned before that quiite a few restaurants do outsource to factories, where dim sum is made offsite, frozen, trucked in, then re-steamed in the kitchen. I would not be too surprised if this were to happen (or is happening already) in the metropolitan areas of the USA.

                                                      Those old school dim sum cranky chefs remind me of traditional sushi chefs in Japan where you had to prove your worthiness first (ie apprentices start by cleaning the kitchen and the tools). I can think of one famous Sichuan restaurant in Hong Kong who had an 80 year old master chef (this was 10 years ago, he's probably dead) and used his bare hands to mix the dough (using Chinese breathing exercises qiqong to channel energy through his fingers) in order to achieve the appropriate consistency for the signature dan dan noodles. He took no disciples until he realized his health was caving.

                                                      1. re: K K
                                                        ipsedixit Mar 26, 2010 10:13 AM

                                                        It's really not just with dim sum chefs, but lots of the Chinese culinary arts are of a dying breed. Things like making dumplings (and dumpling skins), XLB, yiou-tiao (Chinese crullers), etc. are crafts that seem to be less and less cultivated and cherished.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                          tatamagouche Mar 26, 2010 11:29 AM

                                                          Great, thanks. Of course, one can say the same about the traditions of many cuisines...

                                                      2. re: ipsedixit
                                                        raytamsgv Mar 26, 2010 11:13 AM

                                                        Great article.

                                                        1. re: raytamsgv
                                                          tatamagouche Mar 29, 2010 10:15 AM

                                                          ipsedixit and K K (and whoever else): what about green dumplings? Had them a couple times—is the dough flavored or merely colored?

                                                          1. re: tatamagouche
                                                            raytamsgv Mar 29, 2010 10:41 AM

                                                            The Irish are actually a lost Chinese tribe. Why do you think there aren't any snakes in Ireland? St. Patrick got rid of the snakes by asking the lost tribe to cook them all. :-)

                                                            I think someone was having fun with the food coloring.

                                                            1. re: tatamagouche
                                                              ipsedixit Mar 29, 2010 11:02 AM

                                                              Believe the dough in circumstances like that are made (or flavored) with spinach.

                                                              You see the same thing sometimes with fresh soba noodles.

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                K K Mar 29, 2010 12:42 PM

                                                                Correct....dough containing a bit of spinach for color visual effect (and taste to an extent, depending on the receipe or how creative/lazy the chefs are). At certain Chinese supermarket you can buy noodles and dumpling skins that contain spinach. Tatamagouche's pic resembles what we call "spinach gow" or boh choy gow. And it's not really vegetarian as 99% of the time there's shrimp inside (unless you go to a Cantonese vegetarian specialist restaurant that does pure vegetarian versions of soy shrimp dumplings... but trust me even if you were to find one in the USA, don't bother).

                                                    2. re: tatamagouche
                                                      moh Mar 29, 2010 07:43 PM

                                                      My beloved footballs! I love these things. These may be my favorite dim sum offering.

                                                      1. re: moh
                                                        tatamagouche Mar 29, 2010 07:57 PM

                                                        Thanks guys (moh! long time no see!).

                                                        You reach a point in dim sum where you can't process anymore mentally (though heaven knows I can keep powering through physically), and so it's all backtracking...

                                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                                    will47 Apr 19, 2012 04:14 PM

                                                    The book "Cooking from China's Fujian Province" by Jacqueline M. Newman does have one recipe for deep-fried wontons, filled with pork, crab, garlic, etc., and made in the shape of either a golden ingot or a purse (I can't quite tell which from her directions). She implies that it's a traditional Fujianese Lunar New Year dish, but she doesn't include the Chinese name (I'm guessing jin yuan bao or something); so far, I haven't been able to find much information online.

                                                    I did find this recipe, for deep-fried dumplings (潮汕酥饺; chaoshan sujiao, as in "crispy dumpling") from nearby Chaoshan / Chaozhou (in the north part of Guangdong province) -- apparently also a New Years tradition. This one has a sweet, rather than savory, filling, made of rice vermicelli, black sesame seeds, peanut, and sugar.

                                                    Most of the other recipes I could find online seemed to be for sweet dumplings, and many seemed to be New Years specific.

                                                  3. re: tatamagouche
                                                    Dawgmommy Sep 24, 2010 06:30 PM

                                                    I came upon this thread a little late, but jiao zi is only boiled and kuo tei is only pan fried. the filling, dough, and how it's folded is the same. only difference is in the method of preparation.

                                                    Bao also implied that it is steamed. when it is baked, there is a character added to indicated that it is baked. (i don't know how to find the chinese characters and included them)

                                                    I can't speak to how it is in Japan or Tibet.

                                                    The pan fired leek dumpling is made with rice flour.

                                                    1. re: Dawgmommy
                                                      tatamagouche Feb 10, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                      Jiao zi is only boiled? I thought it applied to all dumplings. Late better than never!

                                                      1. re: tatamagouche
                                                        ipsedixit Mar 5, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                        Swei -jiao ... water boiled dumplings

                                                        Kuo-tei ... pan-steam fried dumplings

                                                        Tzeng-jiao ... steamed dumplings.

                                                    2. re: tatamagouche
                                                      tatamagouche Mar 5, 2011 09:26 AM

                                                      Here I go again. I ordered some pan-fried crescent dumplings last night and received deep-fried ones instead. How common/whose tradition is that?

                                                      1. re: tatamagouche
                                                        ipsedixit Mar 5, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                        Dumplings (kuo tei), at least traditionally, are never deep fried. Always pan-steam fried.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                          tatamagouche Mar 5, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                          That's what I thought—I've never seen them deep-fried before. Is that only in America kinda thing?

                                                          1. re: tatamagouche
                                                            ipsedixit Mar 5, 2011 01:55 PM

                                                            Is that only in America kinda thing?


                              2. mogo Nov 20, 2008 09:37 PM

                                There is also the kind with you tiao inside:

                                It's such a nice combination of soft and crispy, subtle and salty. It is more or less like eating congee.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: mogo
                                  K K Nov 20, 2008 09:43 PM

                                  Also known as "ja leung", crunchy starch inside, thin supple starch outside.

                                  A good one should remain moist outside and crispy inside.

                                  1. re: K K
                                    TT2 Feb 10, 2011 10:05 AM

                                    That's my favorite dim sum.

                                  2. re: mogo
                                    vil Aug 29, 2012 01:18 PM

                                    Love this delicacy but had been disappointed for the last 100 times I ate it outside of Hong Kong, where it originated. The dough fritter must be freshly deep fried and crispy, and the cheung fun must be thin, freshly made, and served immediately, still warm and barely set.

                                    I recently watched a TV program that shows how this is made and supposed to look like, and it is causing some major salivation as I think about it now! Video is in Cantonese, but you can see it at 1:24 - 1:33 :


                                  3. z
                                    zfalcon Nov 20, 2008 10:40 AM

                                    I've never been a big fan of standard steamed cheung fun, but I love jeen cheung fun. It's basically taking the cheung fun and pan frying it, sometimes with XO sauce. It then becomes crispy on the outside yet tender inside.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: zfalcon
                                      alkapal Apr 18, 2012 06:20 AM

                                      zfalcon, if you are still around on the boards after so many years, how would you write "jeen cheung fun" in chinese? and pronounce it?

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        will47 Apr 19, 2012 03:57 PM

                                        Cháng fěn (the romanization for how it's said in Mandarin) is written 肠粉 (simplified) or 腸粉 (traditional). Literally 'intestine' (I think because of the rolled shape), and fen is like rice noodles (chow fun fen). In Mandarin, you'd say (phonetically) something roughly like 'chahng fun' (tongue curled back against the roof of the mouth) or 'tsahng fun' with a rising tone on the first character, and a falling-rising tone on the second.
                                        Or just listen here:
                                        http://www.nciku.com/search/all/%E8%82%A0%E7%B2%89 (Mandarin)
                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa3A2Ljl5AI (Cantonese)

                                        It can also be prefixed with '豬' (zhū in hanyu pinyin) as in 'pig intestine' -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chee_che...

                                        I assume 'jeen' is the Cantonese of 煎 'jian'

                                        So, romanized:
                                        jiān cháng fěn (Mandarin / hanyu pinyin)
                                        zin1 coeng4*2 fan2 (Cantonese / jutopinyin)

                                        Personally, I'm happy if I can get one that's vegetarian and freshly made, even if the filling is just you tiao, or just cilantro or scallion... the pre-made ones (the kind used for stir-fried chang fen dishes) are sometimes a little bitter tasting.

                                        1. re: will47
                                          alkapal Apr 20, 2012 12:35 AM

                                          will, muchas gracias! ;-) that will help me a lot.

                                          1. re: alkapal
                                            huiray Aug 28, 2012 12:43 AM

                                            Or, in Yale: jin1 cheung4 fan2. (煎腸粉)
                                            [Colloquially, one might also say it as jin1 cheung2 fan2]
                                            This is assuming you did mean pan-fried 'cheung fun'.

                                    2. K K Nov 20, 2008 10:18 AM

                                      Just a note:

                                      The goose liver version is not common at all. Very very very few dim sum places in the USA will even offer something like that.

                                      In Hong Kong there are places that do variations like preserved sausage with pork liver cheung fun. You may find those kind of combos at off the beaten path restaurants or places that specialize in making cheung fun even late into the night (a taxi driver favorite when needing a meal break).

                                      There are actually two kinds of "cheung fun". One is the kind that is very common that we are discussing. The other kind uses a thicker skin, and is called fun guen (guen = roll). The fun guen could also have different items inside of it, and one that I have read about is shredded marinated goose. Nobody seems to make fun guen over here, and I don't think I've ever had that.

                                      Ju Cheung Fun are typically plain rice milk rollades. Some Chinese supermarkets will have this pre-made and you can DIY steam it yourself at home, and sometimes labeled as Bahn Cuon (Vietnamese equivalent but different). Some are plain, and some packages have chopped scallions and dried shrimplets in them (which you can also pan fry/stir fry as well). Nothing beats a plate of freshly made ones. These you probably don't want to eat plain, having at least 3 to 5 kinds of condiments and sauces are crucial to the experience, even if it means that it looks like a pile of ugly goop in the end. Don't forget toasted roasted sesame seeds.

                                      1. PeterL Nov 20, 2008 07:02 AM

                                        Well there is the steamed version, which is usually rather tastless by itself. The sauce is everything. Myself I prefer the pan fried version: shorter and less broad.

                                        1. luckyfatima Nov 20, 2008 01:37 AM

                                          cheung fun is one of my favorites. there is a very high quality Singapore based dim sum house place near my home that serves a variety of fillings like "crunch prawn," asparagus, BBQ chicken, some kind of crunchy crouton bread (I forgot what they called it), in addition to the traditional. I love the stuff, it is all about texture and the right balance of the sauce flavor and the filling flavor.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: luckyfatima
                                            alkapal Apr 18, 2012 06:18 AM

                                            in falls church, lucky fatima, hong kong seafood pearl's dim sum offeers these in shrimp or beef. quite tasty!

                                          2. K K Nov 19, 2008 03:07 PM

                                            Cheung fun are steamed rice milk rollades if you will. With the word "milk" more like what you get when you make "milk" out of soybeans.

                                            Cheung fun should ideally be steamed to order but chances are they will have been made in advance, sit covered in a steam table/heater push cart.

                                            Cantonese people have a term for Cheung Fun, and that is preceeded with "Heung" and "Waaht". "Heung" being fragrant, and "Waaht" being slippery smooth. It should not be chewy, but moist enough with just a splash of the sweetened soy sauce that it goes down easy (and slurps up easy) and smooth.

                                            I'm also into the beef versions at dim sum restaurants, but some purists like cha siu (bbq pork) or shrimp more. You could arguably lace the insides with other ingredients and more oddball classics are not far behind (like goose liver with cilantro). Some schools of fans prefer them without the sauce, just to taste the real flavor. But maybe that can only be enjoyed truly and fully in parts of Hong Kong.

                                            The scaled down street food version, Ju Cheung Fun, is not just about the texture but the mixing of sauces. 5 long rolls cut into bite sized pieces, eaten with toothpicks and upwards of 5 or more sauces/condiments splashed on top, mixed together. Typical ones are hoisin like sauce, chili sauce, sesame or soybean oil, sesame seeds, a peanut or sesame like sauce.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: K K
                                              tatamagouche Nov 19, 2008 03:20 PM

                                              Thanks, that's so helpful! These were shrimp filled. Given the option of goose liver filling, I'd definitely eat more cheung fun!

                                              1. re: tatamagouche
                                                ipsedixit Nov 19, 2008 08:54 PM

                                                KK is right.

                                                Cheung fun is all about the sauces that come with it. Which by itself is sort of ironic because cheung fun is inherently so unabsorbant -- the sauces just sort of slide right off of it.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  tatamagouche Nov 20, 2008 06:40 AM

                                                  Yes, that is interesting, esp. when you compare to Italian pasta and how a given shape is matched to a given sauce according to its potential as a vehicle for said sauce...

                                              2. re: K K
                                                TT2 Feb 10, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                That is the perfect description. Have you ever had ones filled with pei dan (1000 yr eggs) and cilantro? Might be an acquired taste, but it's so good.

                                                1. re: TT2
                                                  K K Feb 11, 2011 08:23 AM

                                                  That is not a common combination for cheung fun, probably more difficult for the casual dim sum fans to swallow. Haven't had it yet, but can imagine how nice it can be.

                                                  1. re: K K
                                                    TT2 Feb 11, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                    We special order it at one of the restaurants my uncle likes to go to. It's not part of the normal selection in the carts. It's earthy and delicious.

                                                    1. re: TT2
                                                      K K Feb 11, 2011 03:06 PM

                                                      For more out of the box dim sum, Sun Tung Lok (recently awarded 3 Michelin stars) in Hong Kong (well Kowloon side) has a 金包銀線腸粉 (Gold bag of silver threads cheung fun). The exterior is cheung fun skin, the inside is finely shredded daikon or turnip that is wrapped in a crispy yuba/tofu skin exterior. A very fine touch that seems awefully delicious yet down to earth.

                                              3. d
                                                dpan Nov 19, 2008 02:46 PM

                                                The wrapping should be not to thick, not to thin. Steamed just to the right texture, meaning they should not be too tough or break apart. The meat (the beef is the best, IMHO) should be tender and not chewy.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: dpan
                                                  tatamagouche Nov 19, 2008 02:56 PM

                                                  I think the ones I recently had, then, were properly made...I guess they just don't do anything for me, which is weird, since I can think of lots of noodle types that I could make the same complaint about but that I instead enjoy.

                                                  Anyway, thanks!

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