Cantonese Roast Pork Buns

Char siu bao (roast pork bun) is a Cantonese specialty consisting of pork encased in a spongy dough that’s then steamed or baked. The best are filled with the stir-fried trimmings of marinated and roasted pork butt—a slightly fatty cut that stays tender during roasting.




1 tsp. active dry yeast

3½ cups cake flour

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. diced lard or vegetable shortening


1 tbsp. canola oil

3 scallions, white parts only, finely chopped

1½ cups diced roast pork

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch


  1. For the dough: Combine yeast in 1¼ cups water heated to 115° in a bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add yeast mixture, and mix on low speed; add lard one piece at a time, increase speed to medium, and continue mixing until dough forms into a ball, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape into 16 equal-size balls.


  1. For the filling: Heat oil in a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions; cook for 1 minute. Add roast pork, soy and oyster sauces, and sugar; cook until scallions have softened and pork is heated through, about 3 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tbsp. water in a small cup, add to pork mixture, and cook until sauce thickens, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat, and let cool.


  1. Place a dough ball in the palm of one hand and, with the thumb of your other hand, make a well in the center. Fill well with about 1½ tbsp. pork filling; seal by pinching dough closed toward the center. Place a 2″-square piece of parchment paper over pinched area. Turn bun over, and use scissors to make a ½” crisscross incision in the center of the bun. Repeat process, filling remaining buns and placing on parchment paper squares. Keep filled buns covered with a damp towel. Place 8 buns, paper side down, in an 11″ bamboo steamer; close tightly with lid. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a 14″ flat-bottomed wok over high heat. Fit bamboo steamer into wok, and steam until puffed, about 12 minutes. Repeat with remaining buns.