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Recipe Friday: Pork Belly Steamed Bun Skewer

National Bao Bun Day is coming up on August 22nd. It's a day to savor the deliciousness of the famed dumpling. It's also a day dedicated to learn more about the bao, also known as 'baozi' or 'hot Asian buns,' and the culture that surrounds them. Check out Chris Towne's recipe for his Pork Belly Steamed Bun Skewer (served during this year's Art of Catering Food) to help you celebrate. 

Photo courtesy WASIO Facees/SpotMyPhotos

Pork Belly Steamed Bun Skewer



12 oz braised pork belly (recipe follows)
1 fl oz pork fat, rendered
4 fl oz soy
4 oz sugar
4 fl oz rice wine vinegar
½ fl oz toasted sesame oil
½ bunch scallions, sliced on bias, placed in ice water
1 oz peanuts, crushed
6 ea. frozen butterflied bao buns, defrosted, cut to ¼” x ¼”
8 oz sesame cucumber (recipe follows)
2 T toasted sesame seeds

Ingredients for Braised Pork Belly

½ pork belly (2½ - 3½ lbs)
2 ea. carrot, peeled, halved
2 ea. yellow onion, peeled, halved
2 ea. celery stalk, halved
4 ea. garlic clove, crushed
2 cups water
To taste salt and pepper

Ingredients for Sesame Cucumbers

1 ea. English cucumber, sliced 1/16”
2 T kosher salt
2 fl oz rice wine vinegar
2 T toasted sesame oil
1 T toasted sesame seeds
1 T sugar


  1. Season pork belly with salt and pepper. Arrange vegetables in 4” deep half hotel pan, add garlic and water. Place seasoned belly on vegetables and cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil. Braise three hours at 325° F. After three hours, unwrap and cool completely. Reserve rendered fat.
  2. Slice cucumber with mandoline set to approximately 1/16”. Toss with salt and place in strainer over bowl. Let sit at least one hour. After one hour, gently squeeze cucumbers to remove excess liquid. Place in plastic sandwich bag. Whisk together sugar and rice wine vinegar until dissolved. Add to cucumbers. Add sesame oil and seeds to cucumbers. Squeeze out as much air as possible from bag and refrigerate at least one hour.
  3. Slice chilled belly to approximately 1/8" x 1/8" x ½". Whisk together soy and sugar in bowl until dissolved. Reserve.
  4. Heat rendered pork fat in sauté pan over medium heat, add pork belly pieces. Crisp in oil, stirring continuously until crispy. Drain excess fat from pan while keeping pork in pan. Return to heat and deglaze with vinegar. Add soy/sugar, bring to simmer and lower heat to low. Simmer three to five minutes. Keep warm.
  5. Heat cut bao bun pieces in perforated pan covered over water bath or in bamboo steamer, three to five minutes.

To Assemble

Add to skewer: steamed bao bun, glazed pork belly, and one piece of sliced cucumber, twice folded. Garnish with crushed peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, and bias sliced scallions.



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