Gua Bao is melt in the mouth sticky and sweet glazed pork belly stuffed in soft, marshmallow-like steamed bun along with spicy carrot slaw and crunchy peanuts.
Have you guys had Gua Bao before? They are steamed buns similar to dim sum, that you usually see in bamboo steamed baskets at your favorite Chinese joint, but instead of being stuffed these Bao buns are fold over variety with all kinds of sweet, savory, crispy and crunchy fillings tucked in. It’s popular with pulled pork, crispy duck, fried chicken, tofu, bacon and egg (think weekend brunch possibilities), but my favorite are these Gua Bao with glazed pork belly, spicy carrot slaw, crunchy peanuts and fresh coriander.
I first had steamed Bao at Banh Mi Boys and there was no looking back. It’s been on my mind ever since to try them at home. This asian street side snack is delicious, and a soft steamed bun makes it impossible to just stop at one.
Whenever I’m at an Asian grocery store, I stock up on these buns because they’re so convenient. If you keep a stash of frozen buns in your freezer, you’re halfway to a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
The pork belly is first parboiled, then seared on all sides until brown. Then it is braised in the marinade of soy and oyster sauces, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, scallions, five spice and rice wine at a low temperature until tender and caramelized. The pork will slowly soak up all the aromatics in the pot and become fork tender and super flavorful.
Like every braised dishes, this glazed pork belly tastes even better the next day as the flavor develops further into the meat.
- 2 lb Pork Belly
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 scallions, halved
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- ¼ cup sliced ginger
- 1 tbsp frying oil
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced using mandoline
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp white vinegar (9%)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 12 Bao Buns (can be found in freezer section of good Asian store)
- Sriracha sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- ½ cup crushed roasted peanuts
- fresh coriander, chopped
- chili pepper, sliced
- Place the pork in a medium soup pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.
- Skim all the foam from the top, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the pork to a plate to cool and reserve 3 cups of pork stock, discard the rest.
- Once pork belly has cooled down, cut it into 1x3 inch slices.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan on high heat.
- Add pork slices and sear on all sides until brown. Then cover it with the reserved pork stock and add all the remaining ingredients for the pork belly.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
- Stir and turn the pork pieces every 15 minutes to avoid burning.
- In a big mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except oil and set aside.
- In a small pot heat up the oil until it just begins to smoke and add to the bowl.
- Mix everything to combine.
- Steam the buns according to the packaging instructions, stuff the pork belly inside the buns, add spicy carrot slaw, sprinkle with crushed peanuts, chopped coriander and slices of chili pepper.
- Add a touch of Sriracha and Hoisin sauces to taste.