Pork Buns (Gua Bao)

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Pork Buns (Gua Bao)

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Adjust Servings:
Pork Belly
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 pound Pork Belly Cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 cloves Garlic Crushed
3 thin slices Ginger Crushed
1 Thai bird chili Crushed
2 Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
4 tablespoons Mirin
4 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Five Spice Powder
2 teaspoons White Pepper Powder
4 cups Water
3 tablespoons Oyster Sauce
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Five Spice Powder
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter Melted
3 grams Dried or Quick Rise Yeast
1/2 cup Warm Water
2 cups Bread Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Slices Cucumber

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Slow-cooked pork belly in a soy and mirin broth with a variety of spices, wrapped in a steamed bun

  • 2 hours 30 min
  • Serves 4
  • Easy


  • Pork Belly

  • Sauce

  • Buns

  • Accompaniments



Pork Belly Buns or Gua Bao is a Chinese or Taiwanese snack consisting of stewed pork belly wrapped in a steamed bun. It is extremely popular in Asia but also abroad like in the U.S. The pork belly is slow-cooked in a Dutch oven for 2 hours in a soy sauce and mirin broth with a variety of spices such as five spice powder, star anise and cinnamon. Make your own buns or buy them at your local supermarket. Top with fresh cucumbers and a delightful sauce for your next snack or meal.



Over medium high heat in a Dutch oven, add vegetable oil then cook pork belly for 1 minute on each side. Remove pork from pot immediately and set aside, as you do not want to overcook the pork and lose its tenderness.


Slow cook pork belly

To the same Dutch oven, add garlic, ginger and Thai bird chili and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add star anise, cinnamon and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 10 seconds. Immediately add mirin and bring to a boil. Add soy sauce, five spice powder, white pepper powder and water, bringing to a boil. Turn heat to low, return pork belly to pot and cover. Simmer for 2 hours until tender.


Make the buns

Melt the butter (1 minute in microwave). In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Let it stand for a few minutes. Add the bread flour, baking powder, baking soda and butter. Mix well until a dough forms. Cover and let it stand in room temperature for an hour. The dough will double in size during this time.

When ready, split it in half with your hands and form a long log. Cut each log into 4 pieces each (8 pieces total). Roll each piece into a ball then flatten with the palm of your hands into an oval shape. Let it stand for 15 minutes, then fold in half. Make sure that both ends do not touch or it will stick together when steaming.

Place a metal steaming rack in a large pan filled with water and boil the water over medium high heat. Place the buns (4 at a time in 2 batches) into a stainless steel pan then place the pan on the metal rack. Cover and steam buns for 6 minutes or until fluffy. Remove from heat and repeat with last 4 buns.


Make the sauce

Combine all ingredients for sauce (oyster sauce, soy sauce, five spice powder, sugar and sesame oil) in a small bowl and set aside.

To serve, place 1 piece of pork belly in a bun and top with sauce and cucumber slices. Enjoy!

Rebecca Chan

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