Delectable Savory Filipino Style Stuffed Steamed Buns
While there are a number of stories associated with the origin of this delicious and delicate all-day Filipino favourite snacky bite, it is believed that one of the military strategists linked to the Philippines in the olden times invented this food which is to be offered as a sacrifice to the gods for healing. They are buns shaped like human heads, and are made of flour stuffed with meat filling. Siopao, literally meaning hot bun or steamed bun, is a Filipino version of the Cantonese steamed bread buns. It is a popular snack sold mostly in Chinese restaurants or by sidewalk vendors in the Philippines.
Siopao is a steamed rice flour bun with a meat filling that is a very popular Filipino afternoon snack. It is usually eaten with a sweet-spicy sauce and goes well with a steaming bowl of beef noodles. It is the larger version of the Cantonese dumpling filled with barbecue pork, which is either steamed or baked. Filipinos fill their siopao with ground beef of pork and shaped like meatballs and cooked in soy sauce and seasonings, but it can also be made with shrimp, or shredded chicken with salted duck eggs.
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Siopao and its varieties can be found across Asia. It is called Salapao in Thailand, and Pau in Hong Kong. The Chinese version of siopao is baozi filled with vegetables or meat. Baozi was first made during the Three Kingdoms period in China between 220 and 256 A.D. This food was originally called mantou or flour-head. While it is still called mantou in some parts of Southern China, it is now mostly called Baozi. Legend has it that this food was invented in the shape of a human head and made as an offering to the god.
The basic Baozi idea was brought by Ma Mon Luk, a Chinese immigrant to the Philippines. He began selling Baozi in the streets and gave out door to door samples as well as free food for disaster victims. Eventually, he got a small restaurant that became very popular, and this food became part of the Filipino culture. The name siopao replaced baozi. They are still popular in both Chinese and Filipino restaurants and are commonly part of dim sum cuisine.
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Bola-bola and Asado are the two most popular flavours in the Philippines. Bola-bola siopao is made with finely ground pork and Chinese sausage. Asado siopao is made with diced beef or pork. It is the most popular variety found in restaurants and street vendors. Part of its appeal is the convenience of eating it in one hand.
You can enjoy this tasty bun for breakfast, lunch, evening snack, supper or dinner. Home-made Siopao is a steamed, meat-filled bun that is a part of traditional Filipino cuisine. It is very similar to, and is probably derived from, smaller Chinese dumplings known as Baozi.
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While the basic concept refers it to as a meat-filled bun, these are fairly common in many Asian cuisines, in part, perhaps because of their versatility and ease of preparation. They’re often a good way to use leftover meat, and the portability of the end product is often really valuable for people with long commutes or who want a quick meal or snack on the go. The buns are always steamed, too, which usually also means that they’re very easy to cook. They’re commonly paired with a range of dipping sauces to go alongside.
Here are a few of my Twist of Taste versions with this easy to make steamed delight called SIOPAO!
Recipe-1] HONEYED CHICKEN SIOPAO
Recipe-2] CHINTHAI SIOPAO
Recipe-3] PALAK PANEER BHURJI SIOPAO
Recipe-4] SIOPAO AL FRESCO
Recipe-5] SIOPAO BOLA BOLA
Recipe- 6] MUSHROOM PEPPER SIOPAO
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.