Siopao Asado (Sweet Pork Steamed Buns)

Siopao is a Hokkien term for baozi which means steamed buns. In Thailand it is called salapao and in Philippines it’s called siopao. It is a very popular street food in Philippines which was definitely influenced by the Chinese. There are a lot of variants of these wonderful steamed buns and the most common one is the char siu bao (barbecued pork). In the Philippines the most common one is the Asado Siopao (Sweet Pork), Chicken Pao (Minced Chicken), Bola Bola (Minced Meat) and the special Siopao (mixed meats with duck eggs), for vegetable lovers there are also options like cuapao (Meat with Vegetables). But Pao’s are not limited to savoury types there are also the sweet types like the mung bean paste steamed buns and lotus seed steamed buns.

I love siopao and I can eat this every day, I remember when I was a child I always ask my mom to buy me some siopao before she goes home after work. I guess it’s not just me but most of the kids in the Philippines do like this, I am saying that because it’s common to moms in the Philippines to tell their children that the meat in this delicious treat is made out of stray cats meat so they would avoid asking for it. This was the equivalent of hamburger during my time, when McDonald’s haven’t dominated the streets of Manila yet.

I miss siopao specially the Kowloon House Jumbo pao  which consists of mixed meats (Chicken, Barbecue Pork and Beef), Chinese sausage and salted duck egg. I can say this was the best siopao I had ever tried and to prove it to my taste buds when I used to stay in Hong Kong I tried a lot of different type of steamed buns almost every day and nothing made it even closer. I know they have great steamed buns there but still I crave for the Kowloon House Jumbo pao. Well this recipe is not for that type of steamed bun, as I had tried doing it before and I failed so I will opt in for a simpler version which is called Asado Siopao. The filling is nearly similar to the pulled pork but the sauce is Asian inspired. A bit time consuming to make but it is definitely worth the effort and wait.

Ingredients (Bun)

3 cups dumpling flour + 1/2 cup for dusting
200ml warm water
1/2 cup + 2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp shortening or vegetable oil (use shortening to make it whiter in colour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water

Ingredients (Filling)

400g pork loin, cubed
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1/3 cup water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 cup water
oil
salt

Ingredients (Water for Steaming)

water, for steaming
1 tbsp of vinegar per litre of water, for steaming

Method (Filling)

  1. On a pan add oil and sauté garlic then add pork, stir fry pork for 3 minutes.
  2. Add water, soy sauce, brown sugar and 5 spice powder. Bring to a boil and simmer in low heat for 2 hours or until the meat breaks apart, mixing occasionally to prevent burning, add additional water if needed.
  3. Once meat has broken down add hoisin sauce then thicken it with cornstarch mixture,  simmer further until sauce thickens.
  4. Season with salt. Turn heat off then set aside.

Method (Steamed Buns)

  1. Mix together yeast, 2 tsp sugar, and 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Set aside in a warm location for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients except for the baking powder then knead dough until dough surface smooth and texture is elastic; occasionally dust the board with dumpling flour. Place in a greased bowl then place in a warm location, set aside for 2 hours. After two hours the size would be doubled.
  3. Deflate dough then spread on floured board. Add the baking powder evenly then knead for 5 minutes.
  4. Divide into 8 – 10 pieces then roll them thin, place a good amount of the meat mixture in the middle then seal them on top, place buns in a greased paper. Do with the remaining dough and filling. Set aside in a warm location for 30 minutes.
  5. Prepare your steamer by pouring water and vinegar. Vinegar will make sure your buns are white.
  6. Place buns into steamer container then steam siopao for 20-25 minutes.

43 Responses

  1. These looks great – a like the idea of this recipe.
    :-) Mandy

  2. This is like our Siew Pow but you do get many other fillings inside from chicken to the sweet tau sha peng too.

  3. Meri says:

    Are there any versions with no meat whatsoever??? perhaps not :)

  4. You have no idea how pork steamed buns have been taking up space in my brain lately. I had absolutely out of this world ones on a food tour of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and have been dreaming about them ever since. I am so eternally grateful for this recipe. Now I just need a good steamer. Can you believe I don’t own one?!!!

  5. saminacooks says:

    Oh yummy yummy yum! I just had one of these today :) Walked past a Chinese Bakery, while running errands and I couldn’t resist. LOVE your picture!! I am going to try your recipe, as soon as I get some time!

  6. Tita Beng says:

    Wow, this one’s yummy for sure! I’d love to try making this but will have to make substitution of chicken for pork. I wonder of it would change the taste.

  7. boogie. says:

    I love asado siapao. unfortunately we only have one good place in town that has it.

  8. Babygirl says:

    You definitely fooled me because I would have thought this would be a chinese type of recipe. This looks absolutely delicious. I have pork in my freezer and now I know what to do with it. Very nice

  9. Wow, these look amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

  10. Sarah Concepcion says:

    can i skip the hoisin sauce and the chinese spices? can i just leave them out or is there any substitutes?

    • Raymund says:

      You can but it will not taste and smell the same, you can also replace the hoisin with 1 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp brown sugar, for the spices you can use star anise and bay leaf instead.

  11. Joanne Ozug says:

    I can’t find pork stock, do you think it’d be better to do vegetable, chicken, or beef?

  12. Joanne Ozug says:

    I’m making this now, is the dough supposed to be really stiff and dense? I can’t really get it into a smooth ball.

  13. Joanne Ozug says:

    I added more water and a little bit of oil to it to loosen it up, and it turned out great!

  14. ogz5 says:

    hi raymund,
    where are based if I may ask? i’m in the phils. my siopao dough is yellowish, i am wondering what brand of all purpose flour did you use?

    • rsmacaalay says:

      I am in New Zealand so we definitely have different brands, but if you find it yellowish you can use bleached flour or you might find in Binondo a special flour they use for siopao

  15. Christine says:

    I hate to be dense, but what is dumpling flour? I dont think i’ve seen that in Canada.

    • rsmacaalay says:

      I buy it in Asian shops and haven’t seen it in supermarkets here in New Zealand. I think its a special flour for this purpose though I have used regular flour before it does not yield the same texture as what you can get on Chinese restaurants so when I saw this type of flour in Asian Grocer I gave it a try and whoalla I got the texture that I wanted.

  16. Lorena says:

    I tried this recipe but when I steam the buns, the dumpling dough starts discoloration (brownish). What am I doing wrong?

    • Raymund says:

      Did you add vinegar to the water, just 2 tbsps will help. Also you need to put some muslin cloth on top so the hot water droplets wont touch the buns.

      • Lorena says:

        I got it. 2 tbsp of vinegar did help. I dont know how I missed that from your instruction. Thx so much! From the meat to the dough, it was ver delicious!!!

  17. Nancy says:

    what is dumpling flour

  18. Lerma says:

    Gotta look for that dumpling flour.. ASADO wuhoo!!

  19. Mhyr says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I will make this on the weekend =)

  20. Treasure says:

    Great recipe. Love the flavour. Although these are time consuming to make they are not difficult and definitely worth the effort.

    • Raymund says:

      I partly agree because if this is your favourite dish and live in a place where this is not commercially available then this is the next best thing, doing it at home.

  21. che says:

    I just made this…the buns so big and white. The only problem I had, it has dark brown spots. Why is this so? Please help me…I need to make this perfectly coz this is my favorite.

    • Raymund says:

      The dark spots happens when water drips on the buns while steaming. Vinegar in the water reduces that from happening but if it still does you can put muslin cloth between your cover and the buns it catches those steam that drips.

  22. che says:

    But I used cloth on this. I’ll try a thicker cloth next time. Wanna keep on trying til I got the perfect one. I like your recipe! Do you have any recipe for the sauce? Thank you.

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