Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Oct 8, 2010 01:50 PM

Pork-free dim sum choices?

A friend of mine is having dim sum this weekend and he doesn't eat pork. Can anyone help with suggestions of items he can enjoy that won't contain any form of pork? Thanks so much in advance--


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here’s a short list of dim sum items that may contain pork which sometimes are not always obvious:

    Shrimp & Pork Dumpling (Siew Mai)
    Deep Fried Sweet Rice Dumplings (Ham Sui Gok),
    Steam or Baked BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao),
    (Turnip Cake) Lo Bak Goh
    Lotus Wrap Sticky Rice (Lo Mai Gai)
    Spring Rolls (may contain pork unless vegetarian version is offered)
    Rice Noodles (Cheung fun), just make sure you ask for the beef or shrimp
    Taro Dumplings (Wu Gock)
    Fun Gor (Like har gow but may contain pork)
    Steamed “Pork” spareribs
    Potstickers (may contain pork unless vegetarian version is offered)
    Congee (Juk)

    1 Reply
    1. re: rinkatink888

      Appreciate your very helpful post--thank you

    2. My partner is Muslim and he never has any problems with dim sum- he just says "no pork" and they offer the non-haram stuff on the cart.

      6 Replies
      1. re: John Manzo

        LOL, sometimes the obvious isn't so much--guess assuming a language prob! TY!!

        1. re: John Manzo

          That would be great if all the cart servers would simply comply and serve the dishes you requested with certain ingredients missing in the dishes, however I would often overhear the customer telling the cart servers they cannot have a certain ingredient and it doesn’t deter the cart servers to misinform the customer just to sell them the dish and once in while I have had to intervene to prevent a customer from eating something he shouldn’t be eating.

          1. re: John Manzo

            Just be cautious. There are many times that Chinese dim sum restaurants don't really take your requests of "no pork" or "no meat" very seriously, or for very long.

            1. re: John Manzo

              What ipsedixit is true. Partly has to do with the fact that the servers usually do not know all the ingredients in a Dim Sum. The ingredient in almost all Dim Sum is complex. I can make a few Dim Sum and I will say that a lot of Dim Sum has pork ingredient one way the others. Most noticeably, Chinese sometime use lard in cooking. If pork is a big no-no, then I won't even try Dim Sum. There are only a handful of Dim Sum which have no pork.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Most Chinese restaurants just don't care.

                Unless you walk in with a shaved head and wearing a long robe and announcing that your best friends are all buddhist monks, requests of "vegetarian only" or other special dietary considerations are given lip service, if that.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Probably both. If you ask most servers, they simply don't know all the ingredients in each Dim Sum. Let's say Char Siu Bao, there is at least 15 ingredients in it. We are not talking about a piece of steak or a cookie here. Either way, if a customer absolutely cannot have pork (say Muslims), then I would honestly advise he/she does not go to Dim Sum because there is always a reaonable chance of consuming pork there.

            2. ok, c'mon. if someone doesn't eat pork, don't go to dim sum. just because you don't see pork, doesn't mean that some element of pork is not there, either as soup base, aspic, or pork fat. even desserts (including mooncakes) were traditionally made with pork fat. most places now substitute with vegetable oil/shortening or go with some blend. but really, the folks pushing the carts don't make the dim sum and wouldn't really know.

              1. No pork that I know of:

                Beef cheong fun (steamed rice rollades with beef inside), or you can get shrimp version. Check the restaurant to see if they have other kinds of cheong fun that do not have pork
                phoenix talons (aka chicken feet, black bean sauce and chilis)
                薑蔥牛柏葉 - steamed book tripe slices in ginger juice (geung chung ngau paak yeep)
                鮮竹卷 (seen jook guen) - fried vegetarian roll (made with yuba skin wrap) then steamed/stewed with sauce on top. You may want to order one and take a bite first before you offer it to your friend, some versions may have shrimp (seen ha fu pei guen) and may contain pork inside, but seen jook guen should be vegetarian.
                山竹牛肉 - basically the beef meatballs with the Worcestershire sauce on the side.
                Ja Leung - some of the higher end dim sum restaurants might have this, steamed rice crepes/cheong fun skins wrapped around fried dough.
                oyster sauce gai lan (chinese broccoli)

                Beware of ha gow (shrimp dumpling), some preps may contain bits of pork fat inside

                Desserts generally don't contain/use pork products, although some of the egg tart flakey crusts could be made with lard (that's the old way of doing it, and I'm sure CA is more health conscious).

                If there are not enough porkless dim sum choices, order a stir fry noodle or rice dish, e.g. dried fried beef chow fun.