Gua Bao Buns

How To Make Gua Bao (Steamed Buns)

How To Make Gua Bao: The Gua Bao is a delightful Taiwanese steamed bun that will turn your world upside down. I fell in love with it at first sight, and so should you. Thanks to the efforts of Eddie Huang and David Chang, who introduced the Gua Bao to the west, these little babies are easy to find all across the map. I think this way of making the buns are as close to the traditional way of making it.  


Makes 18 buns

15 g fresh yeast, or 7g sachet dried yeast or 3.5 g (1/2 sachet) fast-action dried yeast.

140 ml lukewarm milk

35 g caster sugar, or more if you prefer a sweeter flavour

500 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing


  1. Mix the yeast, 145 ml water, milk and sugar together in a bowl and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in the 500 gram flour to make a smooth, firm dough, then cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for at least 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  3. Add the salt and oil to the dough and knead until well incorporated.
  4. Place the dough on a floured surhafe and knead for 10 minutes until the gluten has been activated and the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Cut the dough into 45 gram balls and give each a quick knead before rolling into a sphere. Then, with a rolling pin, roll each sphere into an oval shape about 3mm thick. Brush the dough with oil, then fold over in half and press together gently. Space out on a lightly oiled tray, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 minutes until puffed and risen.
  6. Carefully transfer to a warm bamboo steamer lined with greaseproof paper and leave to rest for 10 minutes. It is important that the steamer has a domed lid so that droplets of water don’t drop to the dough when cooking. Steam for 15 minutes.
  7. You can reheat the buns when you are ready to eat – simply steam for 5-7 minutes; don’t steam them for too long, otherwise they will turn yellow.

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