Baked barbecue pork buns (guk char siu bao) are the oven baked version of the very popular steamed barbecue pork buns. The baked buns have the same barbecue pork filling but the golden brown bun is quite different. The buns are more similar to baked bread and are top coated with honey or sugar mixture. In addition, baked barbecue pork buns are quite a bit larger than their steamed cousins so you get more for your money. These buns are commonly available in Chinese bakeries as well as dim sum restaurants.
Steamed barbecue pork buns (char siu bao) really need no introduction since it may well be “the classic” dim sum item. Small pieces of tender, sweet Chinese barbecue pork are stuffed inside a soft steamed wheat bun. The bun itself should have a dry surface, a hint of sweetness, and a delicate, fluffy and somewhat chewy texture. The baked version of barbecue pork buns is quite different but equally delicious.
I use this dish as one of standards for comparing the quality of dim sum restaurants.
Warning! These placid-looking buns can be lethal: I’ve seen dim sum virgins get addicted to dim sum after eating these buns. It’s usually a good idea to order enough dishes so that everyone in your party can have a whole bun. These buns will quickly dry out when kept in the refrigerator so it’s best to eat them fresh.