Char siu bao
Alternative namesChashaobao, manapua, keke pua'a, chao pao
TypeDim sum
Place of originSouthern China
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsPork
VariationsBaked or steamed
Food energy
(per serving)
501.2 kcal (2098 kJ)
Cha siu bao
Simplified Chinese叉烧包
Traditional Chinese叉燒包
Jyutpingcaa1 siu1 baau1
Cantonese Yalechāsīu bāau
Hanyu Pinyinchāshāo bāo
Literal meaningbarbecued pork bun
Baked cha siu bao dough for this type is different from the steamed version

Cha siu bao (simplified Chinese: 叉烧包; traditional Chinese: 叉燒包; pinyin: chāshāo bāo; Jyutping: caa1 siu1 baau1; Cantonese Yale: chā sīu bāau; lit. 'barbecued pork bun') is a Cantonese baozi (bun) filled with barbecue-flavored cha siu pork.[1] They are served as a type of dim sum during yum cha and are sometimes sold in Chinese bakeries.[1][2]


There are two major kinds of cha siu bao: the traditional steamed version is called 蒸叉燒包 (pinyin: zhēng chāshāo bāo; Jyutping: zing1 caa1 siu1 baau1; Cantonese Yale: jīng chāsīu bāau) or simply 叉燒包 (chāshāo bāo; caa1 siu1 baau1; chāsīu bāau), while the baked variety is usually called 叉燒餐包 (chāshāo cān bāo; caa1 siu1 caan1 baau1; chāsīu chāan bāau). Steamed cha siu bao has a white exterior, while the baked variety is browned and glazed.

Cantonese cuisine

Although visually similar to other types of steamed baozi, the dough of steamed cha siu bao is unique since it makes use of both yeast and baking powder as leavening.[3][4] This unique mix of leavening gives the dough of cha siu bao the texture of a slightly dense, but fine soft bread. Tangzhong, a water roux, is sometimes used to keep the bread soft over long periods of time and aids in improving the texture of the bao.

An alternative version of the steamed char siu bao is a baked version. While the dough is very similar, the baked char siu bao is more similar to a baked bun with the same char siu filling. It is often coated with an egg and sugar wash before baking, resulting in a slightly sweeter, more bready char siu bao.

Encased in the center of the bun is tender, sweet, slow-roasted pork tenderloin. This cha siu is diced, and then mixed into a syrupy mixture of oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, roasted sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, shaoxing wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch.[5]

Philippine cuisine

Main article: Siopao

See also: Philippine asado and Asado roll

Siopao (simplified Chinese: 烧包; traditional Chinese: ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: sio-pau; Tagalog pronunciation: [ˈʃupaʊ]), literally meaning "hot bun", is the Philippine indigenized version of baozi. A common variant of the siopao, the siopao asado, is derived from the char siu bao and has a filling (asado) which uses similar ingredients to char siu. It differs in that the Filipino asado is a braised dish, not grilled, and is more similar in cooking style to the Hokkien tau yu bak (豆油肉). It is slightly sweeter than char siu and can also be cooked with chicken. Siopao is also typically much larger than the char siu bao or the baozi.[6][7][8][9]

Polynesian cuisine

See also: Manapua

At the invitation of the European powers, the Chinese were recruited as indentured laborers throughout in the Pacific to work on sugar plantations starting in the mid-1800s. Chinese immigrants would bring with them foods such as char siu bao which would be adapted to their new location.[10][11][12]

In Hawaiian cuisine, it is called manapua. Hawaiian pidgin for "delicious pork thing".[13] In Samoa, the item is referred to as keke pua'a, literally meaning "pig cake".[14] In Tahiti, French Polynesia they are called chao pao.[15]

Vietnamese cuisine

In Vietnam, the item is called xíu páo. It's originating from Guangdong and Chaozhou following a fairly large overseas Chinese community living in Hakka street in Nam Dinh, Vietnam. Ingredients for baking mainly include flour, meat, eggs, flour, lard and some typical spices depending on how each family's family is made. To make delicious cakes, people often marinate pork tenderloin with minced garlic, fivespice, oyster oil, honey and then baked until it turns golden brown and is fragrant. Char siu meat is diced and mixed with wood ear mushroom, pork fat and a whole boiled quail egg, with the addition of a salted egg yolk in some variants. The word "xíu páo" is considered to be transliterated Cantonese or Hokkien. [16]

See also


  1. ^ a b Hsiung, Deh-Ta. Simonds, Nina. Lowe, Jason. [2005]. The Food of China: A Journey for Food Lovers. Bay Books. ISBN 978-0-681-02584-4. p. 24.
  2. ^ Christopher DeWolf; Izzy Ozawa; Tiffany Lam; Virginia Lau; Zoe Li (13 July 2010). "40 Hong Kong foods we can't live without". CNN Go. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  3. ^ Luckytrim, Chinese Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) Recipe
  4. ^ Michelle Che, Chinese Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao)
  5. ^ Geni Raitisoja (June 25, 2008). "Chinese recipes: char siu (barbecued pork)". All About China. Radio86. Archived from the original on 2012-03-27.
  6. ^ "Siopao Asado Recipe". Panlasang Pinoy. 17 June 2021. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Siopao Asado (Filipino Steamed Pork Buns)". Hungry Huy. 3 October 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  8. ^ De Leon, Adrian (2016). "Siopao and Power: The Place of Pork Buns in Manila's Chinese History". Gastronomica. 16 (2): 45–54. doi:10.1525/gfc.2016.16.2.45. JSTOR 26362345.
  9. ^ Boi, Lee Geok (2014). Asian Soups, Stews and Curries. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. ISBN 9789814634687.
  10. ^ "French Polynesia at the Chinese Crossroads".
  12. ^ "Early History of the Chinese in Hawaii". KHON2. 20 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Manapua and The Manapua Man". Onolicious Hawaiʻi. 13 November 2019.
  14. ^ "20 Best Traditional Samoan Recipes To Cook At Home – Our Big Escape". 25 September 2022.
  15. ^ "In Tahiti, the Local Take on Chinese Food Tells a Story of the Island's Early Immigrants". Condé Nast Traveler. 19 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Bánh xíu páo nhỏ xinh nức tiếng Nam Định". 17 December 2014.