Bao, bau, baozi, pao, pau, humbow, salapao - they are strange words, aren't they? They are the different aliases of the steamed pork bun that I grew up calling siopao. Since the Philippine cuisine has big influences from Chinese, Malay and Spanish cuisines, this pork bun arrived to the country when the Chinese arrived. It is one of the important dishes that had been permanently embedded to the Filipino food culture. It's comfort food that found another home in the country.
Siopao, as it is locally known can be found everywhere. You can find them in small food stalls along the streets, in markets, Chinese and some traditional Filipino restaurants. It is considered as a snack and eaten like how you would eat a burger. Consider it like an Asian version of the Western burger.
The buns is made with flour, yeast and water then steamed. It is very soft and really good. In fact, it's my favorite part in the siopao. The meat filling varies but what's popular is the salty and lightly sweet pork stuffing called asado. But of course, you can put any stuffing you want. What I made is influenced by the asado but still different from it.
Coming up with the right recipe of the bread part came in stages of trials and errors. Initially, I used the dried powder yeast and another kind of flour but it didn't rise so much. When I changed the flour to doppio zero (double zero, 00), and the yeast to the fresh one plus the rising inside the oven at a very low temperature, the bread rose and it came out pillowy soft, just like how I wanted it to be. So based on that, I am sharing the recipe of the one that had a successful result. I hope it will be successful for you too.
For step-by-step photos and the full recipe of this Steamed Pork Buns (Siopao), you can get it at She Knows, a site where I create recipes. For more of my recipes, check out my Profile Page there. Enjoy your week!