Siopao – the local spin on char siu bao (steamed yeast buns filled with sauced-up roast pork) – has long been a favourite breakfast or afternoon snack of many Filipinos. There is just something satisfying about those fat white yeast buns that make them perfectly satisfying.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every bun steamed in the shops gets sold within the day; people aren’t that ravenous, after all. But the leftovers eventually became one bakery’s stock-in-trade and have won fans throughout the big island of Luzon. The bakery in question is Bicol’s 3N Bakery and the product: toasted siopao.
Toasted siopao is what you get when you pop pre-steamed buns into the oven, baking them until the crust gets crisp and golden on the surface and the filling inside totally stodgy and delicious. These are about a little smaller than my palm and are filled with a savoury ground pork stuffing and a quarter of hard-boiled egg. Cheap, filling, and surprisingly delicious, these buns became a hit in their native province of Bicol and have become popular snacks as 3N expanded its reach in big cities, including the Greater Manila Area. Needless to say, this is one “love food, hate waste” exercise that has paid off bigtime. 🙂