Char sui bau – Spiced Pork Buns

A few weeks ago I made this Slow-cooked Five Spice Pork Shoulder , and although it was moreishly delicious I decided it would have been pork overdose to eat it all straightaway so I popped the shredded leftovers in the freezer thinking they would be nice in noodle soup.

Then while at my Mums this weekend, hanging out in in the Oriental Market,  I remembered I used to buy these ready made little char siu bau, doughy little pillows filled with spicy pork , they were a perfect hangover food.

Char sui , this meat means fork roast, traditionally slices of pork shoulder  are rubbed with a mix of honey, five spice powder, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sherry vinegar and less traditionally but commonly used a red powder familiar in “chinese” rib sauces. The meat is then roasted “on a fork”.  Bau is the bun, a sweet yeasty dough either steamed or baked.  A little research convinced me the dough recipes were not beyond me, in fact although I had rice flour most the recipes said plain flour would work fine and having made the dough at lunchtime it took only a few minutes in the evening to make them – ready to steam in a few minutes.

I ate them with my hands my lips tingling with the chilli sweetness of the pork, the dough a perfect mix of fluffy and glutinous . They were not heavy at all and I had to stop myself eating way too many.

Since these took a few minutes to make if you are making from freshly cooked pork , you can make a batch that can be frozen to steam from frozen later.

Char sui bau


Makes 20 buns
6 cups of plain flour
2 cups of warm water
1 tsp of sugar
3g ( 1tbsp) of active dried yeast
1 tbsp of sunflower oil

  1. Mix together the sugar , oil & water.
  2. Add the yeast.
  3. Pour into the flour and mix well.
  4. Knead for a few minutes then leave to rise for at least 2 hours but if left well covered can be up to 5 minutes.

Pork Filling

Mix 200g slow cooked five spice pork shredded and mixed 2 tbsp of Soy Sauce, 1 tsp of minced garlic ,1 sp of hone 1tsp chilli flakes , 1 tsp of rice wine vinegar.

To make the buns

  1. Remove a ping pong ball sized piece from the dough.
  2. On a very lightly floured surface , knock the dough flat with the heel of your hand.
  3. Place a well heaped teaspoon in the centre.
  4. Wet the edges of the dough and gather together squeezing to form a pouch
  5. Repeat until all the buns are all made


  1. To cook place the buns in a steamer with at least 1cm between them
  2. Steam well for 8 minutes



  1. Char siu paos are my family favourite. I often make the baked types but occasionally I made the steamed ones too. Yours look very delicious.

  2. After a longish interval since last looking at your blog, I decided to check it out. So glad I did. I’m going to try these out with shredded duck pieces I have. I love English dumplings so can’t imagine we won’t like these too!

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