Introducing: Asian Steamed Buns

Nikuman, Hirata,中華まん, Baozi, Bao buns… Whatever you want to call them – they’re about to become your new obsession.

Steamed buns are a staple at any street food market, but they’re also creeping onto the menu at Asian restaurants across the capital – and if you haven’t tried one yet then you’re seriously missing out.

Found in variations across Taiwan, China, Korea and Japan, the steamed bun is a fluffy and flavoursome delight that needs to be celebrated. It can be eaten sweet or savoury, and it can be stuffed with just about any glorious filling.

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Mushroom and Aubergine Bun from Wagamama

Simply made with flour, sugar, milk and oil, the steamed bun is the Asian answer to a burger bun. It has a light, airy texture, and its flavours are subtle but moreish.

But the bao is merely a compliment to the main event… its filling. When savoury, the bun is often slathered with sriracha, or a flavoured mayo, and stuffed with various meats, vegetables or tofu. Whereas, the sweet bun is traditionally filled with custard (or ‘milk yolk’ as it is called in Asian cuisine).

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Tofu and Chilli Bun from Yum Bun, Hawker House

As the street food industry grows rapidly, these small and yet filling pieces of goodness are becoming much easier to get your hands on – so what are you waiting for?

If you want to join the steamed bun fan club, then TopNoshLDN recommends: 

YumBun – a street food stall found at various locations, including Dinerama in Shoreditch, and Hawker House in Canada Water

Wagamama – all branches

On The Bab – a Korean street food restaurant serving buns in Old Street and Covent Garden

Beer and Buns – Found on top of K10 Japanese restaurant, this pop up can be found on Appold Street, East London.

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