Cua Pao (Gua Bao) – Lovingly learned from my Mom-In-Law

I first tasted Cua Pao when my mother-in-law visited us in California and she made her own version.  From then on, because of the savory, sour, sweet and nutty taste of Cua Pao, it’s become one of the family favorites.  Cua Pao also known as folded steamed sweet buns with filling is an authentic “Chinese” recipe.  Similar to when you order Peking Duck, stewed pork belly cut in slices are placed in a steaming hot sweet bun. It’s very easy to make and it’s a sure hit to anyone who loves to explore authentic Chinese meal.  Definitely NOT a vegan recipe but it’s a classic hand-me-down family recipe 🙂

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  • Pork Belly
  • Soy Sauce
  • Mirin
  • Cooking Sake or Rice Wine
  • Ginger
  • Star Anise
  • Cilantro
  • Sour Mustard
  • Chopped garlic
  • Chopped peanuts with white sugar or crushed peanut cake
  • Folded white steamed buns


First, prepare the stewed pork belly.  In a large pot, boil pork belly with crushed ginger for 30-45 minutes making sure to remove the scum for a clear/clean broth.  The broth should reduce then mix in soy sauce, mirin, and sake.  Reduce for another 15 minutes.

In a wok, heat oil and brown the chopped garlic.  Mix in thinly sliced sour mustard and stir fry for 5-7 minutes making sure you squeeze out the water from the mustard before cooking.

Prepare cilantro leaves.

Steam store-bought buns for 10-15 minutes.

Assemble your cua pao… and enjoy!


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