Bakpao comes from the Hokkien language, Roubao. The name Bakpao comes from a combination of the words Pao and Bak. Pao means to wrap, and Bak means meat. So, Bakpao is a wrap containing meat. In the Hakka / Khek language, Nyukpao / Yungpao, the meaning is the same: wrapped meat.

Bakpao at first contains pork because most Chinese people consume pork. But along with time and culinary developments, the filling in the bun does not only have pork meat. There are many varieties to filling a Bakpao, including chocolate, peanut butter, fruit jam, chicken meat, beef meat, and vegetables.

History of Bakpao

The first Pao was developed in Chinese culture as a filled form of Mantau, created by legendary 3rd Century military strategist Zhuge Liang. On the way back from battle during his famous Southern Campaign to quash a rebellion around the area which is now Sichuan province. Zhuge encounter with an enormous logistical challenge. The strategist has defeated his enemies but was staring at the prospect of defeat not by an army but by a river that is impossible to cross.

The river was said to be closely guarded by a Deity, who refused to allow safe passage to Zhuge unless he threw the heads of 50 of his soldiers into the river. Wanting to satisfy the Deity's demand without sacrificing his troops, Zhuge ordered 50 buns that looked like a human head to be thrown into the river due to their flat bases and round shapes. The plan was successful. Zhuge and troops deceived the Deity, a safe passage was granted, and the buns were named Mantau (Barbarian's head). Since then, the food has been known as Bakpao until to this day.

How to Make Bakpao

1. Prepare the pao dough

First place the flour, instant yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a mixer and add cold milk or room temperature water. Add cooking oil. Besides, you need to knead for 7 minutes. After 30 minutes, divide the dough, roll, and shape each piece into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.

2. Prepare the pao filling

You need to prepare the filling in advance and leave it cool. The filling is various depending on people's tastes. Hence, suggestions for char siu filling:

Prepare the filling. Also you can start mixing all the ingredients and seasonings except flour. Let it to a boil and cook the pork until it is cooked. Put 2 tsp of the red yeast rice powder and 2 tsp of all-purpose flour. Finally the pork mixture will start to thicken and glue together. Set aside wholly cool before wrapping.

3. Wrapping the pao

Wrap and pleat the dough to seal the filling. Allow it 20 minutes at room temperature before steaming.

4. Steaming the pao

Place the pao in the steamer tray. Furthermore, Boil some water into the steaming pan. Please leave it to steam over medium heat for 10 minutes. Please turn off the heat and leave it cool for 5 minutes. Finally, the Bakpao is ready to serve, eat while still nice and warm.

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Read more about Introduction to pepes.

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