siopao (steamed bun)

Introduction: Step into the world of Filipino cuisine and experience the comfort and satisfaction of sinking your teeth into a fluffy and flavorful siopao (steamed bun). With its soft and pillowy exterior encasing a savory filling, siopao is a beloved snack and street food staple that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. In this  article, we’ll delve into the origins of siopao, explore its cultural significance, and provide insights into how you can make and enjoy this delicious treat at home.

The Origins and Cultural Significance of Siopao: Siopao traces its origins back to Chinese cuisine, where it is known as “baozi” or “bao.” The dish was introduced to the Philippines by Chinese immigrants and has since become an integral part of Filipino culinary culture. Siopao is commonly enjoyed as a snack or quick meal, often paired with a steaming bowl of savory broth or enjoyed on its own as a satisfying treat. Its popularity has led to a wide variety of fillings, ranging from traditional pork and chicken to modern interpretations such as asado, bola-bola (meatball), or even sweet versions filled with custard or chocolate.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp instant dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Filling of your choice (e.g., pork asado, chicken adobo, or vegetable)


  1. Prepare the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Mix the Dough: Add the flour, salt, and vegetable oil to the yeast mixture. Mix until a soft dough forms.
  3. Knead the Dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Let it Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
  5. Divide and Fill: Punch down the dough and divide it into equal-sized portions. Flatten each portion into a circle and place a spoonful of filling in the center. Pinch the edges together to seal and place on a square of parchment paper.
  6. Steam the Siopao: Arrange the filled siopao on a steamer basket, leaving space between each bun to expand. Steam for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and cooked through.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Remove the siopao from the steamer and let them cool slightly before serving. Enjoy the warm and fluffy siopao on its own or with your favorite dipping sauce.

Serving and Storage Tips for Siopao (Steamed Bun):

Serving Tips:

  1. Serve Hot: Siopao is best enjoyed when served hot and fresh from the steamer. The steam helps to keep the bun soft and fluffy while the filling remains warm and flavorful.
  2. Pair with Dipping Sauce: Serve siopao with a side of dipping sauce for added flavor. Popular choices include soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, or a sweet and savory hoisin sauce. Experiment with different sauces to find your favorite combination.
  3. Garnish for Presentation: Sprinkle chopped green onions or toasted sesame seeds over the siopao before serving for an extra touch of flavor and visual appeal.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: If you have leftover siopao, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat the siopao in a steamer or microwave before serving to restore their softness and warmth.
  2. Freezing: Siopao can also be frozen for longer-term storage. Place the cooled siopao in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer the siopao to a freezer bag or container and store for up to 1-2 months. To reheat, steam the frozen siopao until heated through.
  3. Individual Wrapping: For convenience, wrap each siopao individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper before storing in the refrigerator or freezer. This makes it easy to grab a single serving and reheat without thawing the entire batch.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your siopao remains fresh, flavorful, and enjoyable for every serving, whether enjoyed immediately or stored for later enjoyment

Variations of Siopao (Steamed Bun):

  1. Pork Asado Siopao:
    • Fill the siopao with a classic pork asado filling made with tender chunks of marinated pork simmered in a savory and slightly sweet sauce. Add diced carrots and onions for extra flavor and texture.
  2. Chicken Adobo Siopao:
    • Swap out the pork filling for a chicken adobo filling made with succulent pieces of chicken marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices. Shred the cooked chicken and mix it with adobo sauce for a flavorful twist.
  3. Vegetable Siopao:
    • Create a vegetarian-friendly version of siopao by filling the buns with a medley of sautéed vegetables such as mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, and cabbage. Season the filling with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger for added flavor.
  4. Salted Egg Siopao:
    • Add a unique and indulgent twist to siopao by incorporating salted duck eggs into the filling. Dice the salted eggs and mix them with ground pork or chicken, along with aromatics like garlic, onions, and green onions.
  5. Sweet Siopao with Custard Filling:
    • For a delightful dessert option, fill the siopao with a creamy and sweet custard filling made with egg yolks, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Steam the buns until fluffy and serve them warm for a comforting and indulgent treat.

These variations offer a diverse range of flavors and fillings to suit different preferences and dietary needs, allowing you to customize your siopao experience and explore new taste sensations with every bite.


  1. What is siopao?
    • Siopao is a Filipino steamed bun filled with a savory or sweet filling. It is a popular snack and street food in the Philippines.
  2. What are the common fillings for siopao?
    • Common fillings for siopao include pork asado, chicken adobo, bola-bola (meatball), vegetable, and sweet fillings such as custard or sweet bean paste.
  3. Is siopao gluten-free?
    • Traditional siopao made with wheat flour is not gluten-free. However, gluten-free versions can be made using alternative flours such as rice flour or tapioca starch.
  4. Can I make siopao ahead of time?
    • Yes, siopao can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat before serving to restore their softness and warmth.
  5. How do I reheat siopao?
    • To reheat siopao, steam them in a steamer for a few minutes until heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave them for a short time until warm.
  6. Can I freeze siopao?
    • Yes, siopao can be frozen for longer-term storage. Place the cooled siopao in an airtight container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 1-2 months.
  7. How do I prevent the siopao dough from sticking?
    • To prevent the siopao dough from sticking, lightly dust your hands and work surface with flour when shaping the dough. Avoid using too much flour, as it can make the dough dry.
  8. Can I make siopao without a steamer?
    • While a steamer is the traditional method for cooking siopao, you can also use a bamboo steamer or a metal colander placed over a pot of boiling water as a makeshift steamer.
  9. Can I make siopao with different shapes?
    • Yes, siopao can be shaped into different forms such as round buns, folded buns, or even twisted buns. Get creative with your shaping techniques to add visual appeal to your siopao.
  10. Is siopao suitable for vegetarians?
    • Yes, siopao can be made with vegetarian fillings such as vegetables or sweet bean paste, making it suitable for vegetarians. Just ensure that the filling ingredients are vegetarian-friendly.


Siopao (steamed bun) is more than just a snack – it’s a culinary journey that transports you to the bustling streets of the Philippines, where the aroma of freshly steamed buns fills the air. With its soft and fluffy texture and flavorful fillings, siopao is a comfort food favorite that brings joy to people of all ages. So whether you’re craving a taste of tradition or looking to explore new flavors, siopao is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more.

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