To make dough1. To make the dough, combine the sugar and warm water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Add the yeast and allow to foam, about 10 minutes. (If the mixture doesn't foam, the yeast is old; begin again with fresh yeast.) Add the lard.2. In a food processor, combine the flour and yeast mixture. Turn on the machine and add up to 5 tablespoons of water slowly until a ball forms. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.3. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes. With your palms, roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 6 inches long. To make pan-seared buns1. You'll need canola oil and 2 cups chicken stock. Cut the cylinder into 1-inch pieces. Roll one piece of the dough into a circular wrapper 3 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. To fill, place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Encircle the filling with the dough, pleat the edge of the wrapper to bring the top folds together, then pinch and twist them to seal. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and filling. Cover buns with a damp kitchen towel and allow them to rest, refrigerated, until puffed, about 1 1/2 hours.2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan. When oil shimmers, add 8 buns flat sides down and brown them, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and cover pan immediately to avoid splattering. Allow buns to steam until liquid has completely evaporated and the bottoms have recrisped, about 10 minutes. Check after 5 minutes; if the stock has evaporated but the buns have not yet cooked, add more stock in 1/4-cup increments. If the buns are done but stock remains in the pan, drain it and allow the bottoms to recrisp. Serve with the dipping sauces. To make steamed buns1. Cut the cylinder into eight 2-inch pieces. Take one piece and flatten it with your hands. Using a rolling pin or your hands, lightly roll into a disk about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick.2. Place a heaping tablespoon of your filling of choice in the center of the dough. Encircle the filling with the bun, but allow the tops of the buns to remain open. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and filling. Cover buns with a damp kitchen towel and allow them to rest, refrigerated, until puffed, about 1 1/2 hours.3. Set up a steamer. When the water boils, add buns all at once and steam until filling is cooked and buns appear shiny, about 10-12 minutes. Serve with dipping sauces.Chicken and Shiitake fillingHeat a medium skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When oil shimmers, add garlic and ginger and saute, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add shiitakes and saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, add the chicken, chives and white truffle oil and stir to blend. Correct seasonings if necessary and chill. Wild Mushroom fillingHeat a medium skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When oil shimmers, add garlic and saute, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute until soft, about 4-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer filling to bowl and chill.Shrimp and Garlic Chive fillingIn a food processor, place the shrimp and eggs and blend until almost smooth. Add the butter, truffle oil and season. Pulse until butter is incorporated, but still visible in small pieces. Check for flavor by sauteing or microwaving a small portion. Transfer to a bowl, fold in garlic chives and chill.