Taiwanese Pork Belly Bao Recipe | Ontario Pork

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Taiwanese Pork Belly Bao

Taiwanese Pork Belly Bao
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12-14 portions

Prep Time:
45 minutes

Cooking Time:
1-3 hour(s)


  • 2lb (one slab) skin-on Ontario pork belly
  • 3 bunches of scallions, cut in half crosswise
  • 10 slices of ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 2 cups Shaoxing wine
  • ½ cup light soy sauce
  • ½ cup dark soy sauce
  • Handful of rock sugar

For the Steamed Buns:

  • 1 cup white flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • 1 tsp Canola or coconut oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • A little oil for brushing
  • Parchment paper
  • Bamboo steamer basket

For the Classic Gua Bao Assembly:

  • 1 package pickled mustard greens, chopped
  • 1 cup crushed peanuts
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped very loosely 

Cooking Instructions:

For the Steamed Buns

  1. Combine the yeast with the sugar or honey and the warm water in a bowl and let sit for 5-8 minutes to activate.
  2. Mix in the flour, 1 tsp oil, baking powder and salt, and start kneading the dough until it forms a smooth ball, or around 10 minutes. 
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour in a warm environment.
  4. After 1 hour, punch the dough down to release all the air bubbles and fold the dough over itself a few times to reshape it back into a smooth ball again and place back in bowl to rise slightly for another 20-30 minutes. 
  5. Cut your parchment paper into squares and lay them out on a flat surface. 
  6. Once the dough has slightly risen again, punch the dough down and form into a log. Cut into 12-14 equal pieces. 
  7. Roll out each of the small pieces of dough into oval shapes, and place each of these pieces carefully onto the squares of parchment paper. Fold the pieces of dough in half, while brushing the insides with oil to allow for easy opening, once steamed.
  8. Place buns into the steamer basket. Over a large pot of boiling water, steam on high heat for 10 minutes. 

For the Pork Belly:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the whole slab of pork belly for 1 minute. Drain and cut the pork into generously large cubes (to your liking). 
  2. In a medium thick-walled pot (a clay pot is ideal for the most traditional flavour and an Instant Pot or pressure cooker is ideal for the quickest cooking), lay down the scallions and ginger. Add the pork (skin-side down), followed by the Shaoxing wine, the Chinese Five Spice Powder, and both kinds of soy sauce. Add the rock sugar at the end (it’s best to let it sit on top of the pork). 
  3. Cover the pot and cook on medium-high heat for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Flip the pork over and simmer for up to 30 minutes more, depending on your preference. If you’re using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you can cook the pork on high pressure for 30 minutes in total, followed by a 10-minute cool down.

For the Assembly:

  1. Slice the pork and place a generous slab in each of the steamed buns. 
  2. Top with the combination of ingredients suggested above, or any other combination of ingredients you would like. I suggest having one fresh, one pickled, and one crunchy ingredient for the best results!

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