One of the tempting displays at any shelf in a fastfood or restaurant that always catches my attention are those white steamed, meat-filled buns which is a popular food item in the Philippine and Chinese culture. These are called siopao.
Siopao literally means “steamed bun” and it the Philippine version of the Cantonese steamed bun called cha siu bao. Siopao is sold in the streets in the Philippines, as well as in restaurants.
Siopao, also called Mantou in northern China or simply Pau (bun) in other parts of China and Hong Kong is simply known as steamed buns in English. It is also called Salapao in Thailand.
These buns can be stuffed with a wide selection of choices- from meat to chicken, vegetables, sweet custard or anything else. The most popular favorites are the asado and bola-bola filling. I like how the vendors put a food coloring dot dot on top of the siopao to identify which one is filled with which. For example, a yellow dot on one pile of siopao means that is asado, while a red dot means it is stuffed with pork meat, and so on.
I personally find the siopao very convenient to eat. It is fitted for people with active lifestyles since you can eat it easily while walking, standing, driving, or even lying down while watching television. It does not require the use of utensils.
Ah! the satisfaction of letting your teeth sink into the white, glutinous and sticky bun and tasting the delicious filling inside is just heavenly. (Watch out though, and if you’re not alert, you may include eating the piece of wax paper usually placed underneath the siopao.
The best way to eat siopao is to pair it with a sweet asado sauce or catsup or you can either poke a hole in the side and squirt the sauce in. You can also your siopao into the filling as you eat it.