How to Make Filipino Siopao—Beef or Pork Buns

Updated on June 16, 2018
kerlynb profile image

Kerlyn loves to share her passion for Filipino food with others so that they too can delight in delicious Southeast Asian cuisine.

A delicious steamed siopao.
A delicious steamed siopao. | Source

Cook Time for Siopao

Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 3 hours 40 min
Yields: Makes 20 siopao (per style).

A Filipino Cuisine Classic

Siopao is a beloved Filipino staple consisting of a steamed bun stuffed with ingredients like meat, seafood, vegetables, and hardboiled eggs. It comes in its signature white color, round shape, and soft texture and is usually eaten with sweet and spicy sauces.

It is a favorite Filipino afternoon snack, or merienda, because it is usually eaten on the go without utensils.

Siopao and its many varieties are actually found all across Asia in different, but similar forms. Its original inspiration derives from baozi, a Chinese stuffed bun that the Chinese people shared with their Asian neighbors during their ancient trades across the continent.

Two Popular Siopao Flavors in the Philippines

In the Philippines, siopao usually comes in two flavors—asado and bola-bola. Asado siopao is filled with diced meat—pork or beef—cooked in soy sauce and seasoned with salt and sugar. Bola-bola siopao, on the other hand, is filled with finely ground meat—again either pork or beef—mixed with egg and flour.

Asado siopao has a chunky texture like that of the popular Filipino dish adobo, while bola-bola siopao has a smooth texture like that of another popular Filipino dish, embutido.

This recipe includes instructions on how to make both kinds of fillings so that you can decide which of the two is your favorite!

Siopao filling being laid out on dough.
Siopao filling being laid out on dough. | Source

Asado-Style Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsps cooking oil
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, hardboiled and cut into small bits
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (amount can be adjusted according to preference)
  • 1/2 kilogram pork or beef, cooked and cubed
  • 1 tsp salt (amount can be adjusted according to preference)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. In a pan set over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion.
  2. Add in pork or beef. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add in sugar and soy sauce.
  4. Pour in water, and add bay leaf.
  5. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add eggs and cornstarch. Mix well.
  7. Form mixture into small, round shapes. See below instructions for adding it to the dough.

Bola-Bola-Style Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, raw
  • 2 eggs, hardboiled and cut into small bits
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (amount can be adjusted according to preference)
  • 1 1/2 cups ground pork or ground beef, cooked
  • 1 tsp salt (amount can be adjusted according to preference)
  • 1/4 cup shrimp, cooked and chopped

Instructions

  1. Just like with the asado-style filling, sauté garlic and onion over medium heat.
  2. Add in pork or beef and season with salt and pepper. (You may want to cook the shrimp separately, or just purchase pre-cooked shrimp.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the small bits of hardboiled egg. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add hardboiled egg. Mix well.
  5. Form mixture into small, round shapes. See below instructions for adding it to the dough.

Using a quality steamer will help your siopao achieve that signature soft and light texture.
Using a quality steamer will help your siopao achieve that signature soft and light texture. | Source

Siopao Dough

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tsp salt (amount can be adjusted according to preference)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (amount can be adjusted according to preference)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsps yeast

Instructions

  1. Pour water into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add in yeast. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Add in all-purpose flour and cake flour. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Sprinkle in sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly again.
  4. Pour in oil. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Set dough aside on wax or parchment paper for 90–120 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into 20 pieces. Form each piece into round shapes, and set aside for another 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough into flat, circular pieces. Place siopao filling—either the asado or bola-bola style, whichever you prefer—at the center of the dough. Cover by pulling the corners toward the top center. Wrap by pinching the top center well.
  7. Place stuffed dough on wax or parchment paper again. Set aside for another hour.
  8. Prepare a steamer by lining it with cloth. Place the siopao in the steamer and cover with another layer of cloth.
  9. Steam the siopao for a maximum of 40 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 kerlynb

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Fe capellan 

        5 years ago

        Thnx for the recipe I have been meaning to look it in the library.thnx for saving my time.im definitely use this recipe now

      • Paul Kuehn profile image

        Paul Richard Kuehn 

        6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

        kerlyn,

        You have some excellent recipes for making siopao. I started eating them years ago when in Taiwan. The bigger ones were called baozi and the smaller ones xiaolongbao. Now in Taiwan I will sometimes eat the salabao. I have never had the siopao Filipino style, but certainly will the next time I travel to the Philippines. Voted up and sharing,

      • thougtforce profile image

        Christina Lornemark 

        6 years ago from Sweden

        Siopao sounds very tasty and a great food to take with you! I can see many occasions where these would be great to eat! Thanks for sharing the recipes, I will try them!

        Tina

      • tenet profile image

        tenet 

        6 years ago from Harbin, Heilongjiang China

        I so miss siopao in the Philippines. Thanks for this Kabayan :)

      • Chin chin profile image

        Chin chin 

        6 years ago from Philippines

        Siopao is one of my favorite foods and I really like to know how to make siopao myself. Thanks for the recipe. I'll bookmark and hope to try making it one day.

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