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Jan 24, 2010 02:33 PM

Dim sum ettiquite question

Hi all,

Okay here is the situation.

Amought the dim sum I often eat are what I believe are called "Char Siu Fay" (Roast pork puffs) (the thigs that have the same filling as char sui bao but in flaky turnove like pastry. However I seem to be unable to take these thigs off the plate with my chopsticks and put them in my moth without leaving a trail of pastry flakes along the talble cloth as well as on myself (at the place I go to the puffs are just slighty too big to fit into your mouth in a single bite) Nor Have I seen anyone pick the things up without the same problem happening. My question is this, for really flaky crumbly dim sum like this is the ettiquite to simply use you fingers to pick the things up, or shoud one not worry about the crumb trail or what?

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  1. If this is what I think it is (the shell is kind of lacy b/c it's deep-fried rather than steamed or baked. If so, I handle these by grabbing them by "turning" them so that the chopsticks are grabbing the top and the bottom instead of the sides. This seems to give me a better grip. I do take these in two or three bites, but the bites aren't of equal size because of the grip. This will still leave crumbs but no, I don't worry about them.

    1. Pick up the tray with the puffs with your hand and bring it close to your dish, then use the chopsticks to transport the puffs from the tray to your dish. This virtually will eliminate flakes from flying across the table.

      1. Forget about the chopsticks. Some dim sum such as buns, egg custard tarts, puffs are eaten with fingers.

        4 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          Agree with PBSF...use your hands for any bun like item, including ribs, won tons and egg rolls.....I do

          1. re: flylice2x

            Fried wontons, you mean. You certainly do not want to pick soup wontons by hands which is what "wonton" usually refers.


            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Sorry, in my family we refer to won tons as fried and the other as won ton soup or won ton mein.......

              1. re: flylice2x

                I know. Each family is different. But if you type "雲吞" which is the Chinese name for Wonton in google image, then you will see the standard definition:


        2. Jumpingmonk,

          Pick it up with your hands. It is fine. You can use chopsticks if you like, but you can use your hand. By the way, I think those are called Char Siu So or Cha Siu Sou, not Char Siu Fay. I don't know what is Char Siu Fay really.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Thnak you Chem yes those are the things.

          2. There are few things as relaxed and informal as eating dim sum. You don't have to worry much about etiquette. People at other tables are usually engrossed in conversation and aren't watching what you eat or how you eat it.

            As others have said, you can pick things up with your hand. I would not even hesitate to ask for a fork if need be. That is the only way I can eat rice rolls (chee cheong fun). They are slippery, so they fall off my chopsticks. And because they are topped with a sweet soy sauce, they are messy to pick up with the fingers. A fork does the trick.