VEGAN BBQ PORK BUNS / CHAR SIU BAO / 叉燒包 | Recipe by Mary’s Test Kitchen | COLLAB w/ THE VIET VEGAN


These delicious vegan bbq pork buns are made with seitan and king oyster mushrooms to replace the lean and fatty parts of the bbq pork normally found in steamed bbq pork buns found at Chinese dim sum restaurants. In Cantonese, these steamed buns are called 叉燒包 (pronounced char siu bao or char siew bao). It’s wonderful to use bamboo steamers with this recipe for an authentic flavour but you can also make do with other steaming sets, or improvise with other methods.

VEGAN BBQ PORK BUNS (Char Siu Bao/ Char Siew Bao)


Char Siu Seitan:
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (
1 teaspoon mushroom bouillon powder (
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten

Steamed Bun Dough:
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons warm water (105°-110°F)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (one envelope)
2 teaspoons sugar

Char Siu Sauce:
2 teaspoons cooking oil
1 slice ginger (1/4″ thick, 1″ diameter”)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons maltose
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 cup diced King Oyster Mushroom (3.5oz)
1/2 cup diced red onion or shallot (2.5oz)

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon mushroom bouillon powder

red food colouring

Measuring flour: Use all-purpose flour or bread flour. Do not use gluten-free flour. Make sure to measure the flour correctly especially when dumping all the ingredients into a food processor or mixer. Using an accurate kitchen scale is highly recommended. 2 1/4 cups of flour = 11.66oz or 350g.

If you must measure by volume, remember to sift or fluff the flour first, then spoon the flour into your measuring cup without packing it down. Then level with a straight edge. When in doubt, add less flour. You can always add more if you need to.

Char siu seitan is too much effort? Vital wheat gluten is hard for you to get? :
If you don’t have the inclination to make seitan from scratch, use super firm pressed tofu instead! Chop up 7oz of store-bought pressed tofu into tiny cubes. Dry them with paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Then combine all the char siu seitan ingredients (except the gluten) and marinate that tofu for as long as possible (up to 24 hours). Then use it in place of the char siu seitan.

Baking Instructions:
You can use the same dough to make baked buns. After filling the buns, preheat your oven to 350°F. After the buns have risen, bake for 15 – 20 minutes. They will not get very much colour unless brushed with syrup wash.

Alternatively, for bakery-worthy results, use my Chinese Milk Bread recipe ( After letting the dough rise once, divide it into 16 pieces, and continue with the rest of the recipe (filling, letting rise). Brush puffed filled buns with the maple syrup wash in the Milk Bread recipe, and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

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