Bao bun with char chee yoke

Let’s celebrate Valentines Day at home with Chinese food for a change

When to a friend house for yum cha. My friend made a few varieties of yum cha: siu mai, sui kao, dumplings, and bao buns with softshell crabs and pull apart braised beef with pickled carrot and daikon. She told me it’s very easy to make. Another said we can get it ready made at the supermarket cold storage department. I have asks her for the recipe. She said she watched TV cooking programs.

I thought about all the hard work doing and resting for 2-3 hours and then steam on bamboo steamer which I don’t have. On top of that I also have to make fillings. My mind says, hey you can buy them ready made. So, I went to look for it and found it. Happy with it. What filling should I stuff inside. Uh!!!! Char chee yoke and salad.

Google: “Bao Buns (pronounced “bow”), but also known as a ‘steamed buns’ or ‘baozi’ 包子, are a delicious, warm, fluffy treat of stuffing wrapped inside a sweet, white dough. Made with a mix of flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder, milk and oil, the bao is a tad sweeter than its closely related cousin, the dumpling. The taste of Chinese bao buns depends on the filling inside them. Most fillings are savory and mildly sweet. There are so many different ways to make bao buns that the bao taste is rarely ever consistent. You can add mushrooms, pork, chicken, beef, and even chocolate for a sweet kick!”

What is char chee yoke? It’s a traditional Hakka braised pork belly with a lot of fat. You got to get at least 3 layers: skin, fat and meat. We often served during Chinese New Year or any days when we felt like having it. Char chee yoke tends to be salty, fragrant umami. The method is to cook char chee yoke thoroughly without hardening it, and marinating for a few hours bring out the taste of the delicious pork belly. Char chee yoke has a perfectly balanced sweet and savoury flavour. Char chee yoke meat is soft, melt-in-the-mouth definitely goes well with bao buns.

I am glad my cheat bao buns are beautifully steam and char chee yoke filling are a great choice that are different from most recipes and goes well with salad and of course chili sauce for me. Let’s cook!!!!


1 packet of bao buns about 20

Char chee yoke ingredients

1 kilo of pork belly, wash, drain and cut into 3 or 4 long strips
3/4 packet of black fungus, soak overnight
1/2 bulb of garlic with skins, break them into individual garlic piece
4 eggs
3 Tbs of 5 spice powder
5 Tbs plain flour
5 Tbs brandy or whiskey
3/4 Tbs salt
1 Tsp ajinomoto (OPT)
oil for deep frying
1 Tbs minced garlic
water enough to cover pork


fried shallots
chili sauce


Place the long strip pork belly in a big bowl, add 5 spice, plain flour, salt, ajinomoto, brandy and crack the eggs in. Mix well till combined. Set in fridge for 4 hours to develop the flavour.

Heat oil on medium high heat. Deep fry a few pieces at a time about 4 minutes until golden brown and removed to a paper towel plate. Once deep frying all the pork, heat a big pot with oil. Then add 1 Tbs minced garlic fry till fragrant about 1 minutes. Add the fried pork to the pot.

Smash the individual garlic and add into pot. Now add black fungus in and strain the fungus water into the pot. Next add enough water to braise the pork until soft about 40-50 minutes. Check seasoning. Spoon char chee yoke onto a bowl and serve with bao buns and salad as side dish.

Note: Do not add pepper. If you don’t want to be too liquid add a little less water. If you like it darker colour add 2 Tbs of dark caramel sauce. You can make this one day in advance. It sure does absorb more flavour overnight.

To steam the bao buns

I use my mother rice cooker that has a steamer container. Don’t overcrowd them. I do three times depending on how many people are eating. 4 bao buns per person. Carefully place the steamer with the bao buns on top of rice cooker with about 4 inches of water. Make sure water is enough if you are steaming a few times and not touching the bao buns. Cover and steam for 5-10 minutes. When they are done cooking, tilt the lid slightly for slow air circulation, about 2 to 3 minutes before opening the lid all the way.

Place the bao buns on plate. Let your loved ones have fun, filling her own bao buns by adding some salad and the char chee yoke with black fungus. Drizzle the sauce and I have added some chili sauce and sprinkles fried shallots on my plate.

On the packaging it said you can microwave the bao buns for about 2 minutes, sprinkles some water on the bao buns. When they are done cooking its puff up and soften when finger touch it. Enjoy it with a glass on white wine.