Siao Pao (Show Pow)

Siao Pao - Steamed BunIf you have never experienced the Siao Pao then you are missing out on a truly wonderful snack. I first experienced these steamed buns filled with meat while living in Dallas, Texas and eating Dim Sum. An order of these buns came to the table, and let me tell you, they rocked. Having been thinking about dim sum in general for some time now, I thought it would be best to give the chinese bun a run for its money.

For nearly the last eight years, I have been buying frozen siao pao from the asian market. You can buy these with chicken or pork inside, and both are really yummy. The thing about the siao pao is that it needs no sauce, and really delicious as a snack, and ultimately fills you up. What more needs to be said.

This past week gave me a good opportunity to get away from making breads and allowed me to move onto another yeast product, the siao pao. The process is not uncommon from making any kind of dough, it simply takes time to make, primarily due to the rise process.

Yields nearly 14 steamed buns.


  • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Meat of your choice, I used a slow cooked barbecue pulled pork

Start by mixing together the yeast, the 3/4 tsp sugar, 3 tbs flour, and the 3 tbs of warm water. Let this stand for roughly 30-45 minutes. Then mix in the 1/4 cup and 2 tbs of warm water, the 1 cup and 2 tbs of flour, salt, 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar, and vegetable oil. Mix to form a dough, then take it out and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. In a large bowl, drizzle in some olive oil, and roll the dough ball in the oil. Cover and let stand until tripled in size, roughly 3 hours.

Siao Pao - Steamed BunPunch down the dough, and spread out on a large board, sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle the baking powder evenly on your surface, and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in the covered bowl. Divide each half into 6 parts and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough and roll out, much like a won ton wrapper. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture into the center and wrap the dough around the meat to form a ball. Place each ball on some wax paper, large enough to fit the ball and shaped into a square.

Let these stand covered until double, for nearly another 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil,then reduce to a medium-low heat (keeping in mind that the water should be at a low boil). Get your steamer ready and transfer the buns, as many as you can fit onto the steamer, including the wax paper, leaving a couple inches apart. Cover and let steam for roughly 20 minutes.

Remove the lid before you turn off heat and continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.

Let cool, and enjoy. Trust me, these are worth the wait.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

6 thoughts to “Siao Pao (Show Pow)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *