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Classic Pork Bao Recipe

It's about time you learn how to make a classic pork bao at home.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin.

Makes: 8
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours


for the buns:
½ cup|250 ml whole milk heated to 115°F
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups bleached bread flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon shortening

for the pork belly:
1 pound|454 grams boneless, skin-on pork belly, cut into 2 large pieces
4 cups|1 liter chicken stock
1 ½ cups|375 ml light sauce sauce
1 cup|250 ml black sweet soy sauce
½ cup|90 grams light brown sugar
½ cup|125 ml oyster sauce
6-7 pieces star anise
5 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf


to serve:
butter lettuce leaves
crusted peanuts
kewpie mayonnaise


  1. Make the buns: Combine the milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture, along with the shortening. Mix well on medium speed until a smooth and soft dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 8 balls of dough. Roll each ball into an oval shape and fold in half. Place a small piece of parchment paper under each bun.
  3. Place a wok on the stovetop and fill about 2 cups|473 ml water in it. Fit a bamboo steamer over the wok and bring to a boil. Add the buns to the steamer and cover. Steam the buns for 7 to 8 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the pork. Combine the pork, stock, soy sauces, brown sugar, oyster sauce, star anise, peppercorns, cinnamon, garlic, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook for about 40 to 50 minutes, until the pork is tender.
  5. When the pork is ready, use tongs to transfer it to a cutting board and cut it into ⅓-inch thick slices. Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the pork and sear on both sides until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups|473 ml of the reserved cooking liquid and cook for 1 minute longer.
  6. Assemble the buns by placing a slice of lettuce and glazed pork belly on the bottom, then top it off with a small spoonful of Kewpie mayonnaise and a sprinkle of crushed peanuts.

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WATCH: How to Make Pork Bao with Chef Bao Bao