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60 Best Sides & Fillings For Bao Buns

If you’re wondering what to serve with your bao buns, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I list 60 of the most popular side dishes and fillings for bao buns.

The best side dishes to serve with bao buns include congee, pork dumplings, and Chinese-stuffed peppers. Try Asian slaw, steamed bok choy, or pickled red onions for vegetable options. Char siu pork is a classic filling, but you can also go with crab salad or beef bulgogi.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Related: how to store bao and the best way to reheat them

Dim sum treats

Pair your bao bun meal with other small treats to complete your dim sum meal!

I love piping hot pork dumplings with a soy dipping sauce on the side, but you can also try soup dumplings or even chicken feet if you’re feeling adventerous.

Pork dumplings


Put together the ultimate dim sum feast by whipping up these traditional pork dumplings to go with your bao buns. 

Also called shu mai, these dumplings are a breeze to make if you get the store-bought dumpling wrappers. 

Simply mix the ground pork filling, and you’re ready for stuffing and shaping. When it comes to shaping, remember that practice makes perfect!

Why we love this recipe: you can make a big batch and freeze them.

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Chinese stuffed peppers


Dimsum isn’t just about the bao buns and dumplings – you can also involve veggie dishes like these stuffed peppers. 

The peppers are seared in a pan, not baked like traditional Western stuffed peppers, so they have a hint of smokiness…

But what makes these stuffed peppers really stand out is the fermented black bean sauce that’s packed with umami goodness. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

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Chinese takeout classics

Serve your bao buns with these takeout classics for the ultimate Chinese-inspired meal. 

Bao make perfect comfort meal when you pair them with egg drop soup or congee.

But go with egg rolls if you want to add a crunchy contrast. 


Planning to serve bao buns for breakfast?

Complete the day’s most important meal with a piping hot bowl of congee, a traditional Chinese porridge made from rice. 

This recipe features a basic version you can customize with toppings, but I like to keep it simple when I’m serving it with bao buns. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s the perfect comfort food for chilly winter mornings.

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Egg drop soup

This soup is a Chinese takeaway classic that you can easily replicate in the comfort of your own home.

The egg ‘ribbons’ are made by pouring beaten egg into a swirling hot broth. And how fast you stir determines how fine your ribbons are.

Enjoy a fresh bowl of this soup with a side of bao buns for a satisfying starter.

Why we love this recipe: it’ll be ready in 15 minutes – way faster than your local takeout!

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Spicy Sichuan noodles

I love chow mein as much as the next girl, but it’s not the only noodle dish around.

The highlight of this dish is the Sichuan chili flake sauce. 

These flakes have a slightly sweet but savory flavor and pack tons of heat which will make your tastebuds dance. 

Psst… save a bao bun to mop up that mouth-watering sauce.

Why we love this recipe: the leftovers still taste amazing.

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Vegetables and salads

Give your bao buns a nourishing boost with a warm plate of veggies or a bowl of fresh salad. 

You can’t go wrong with a simple cucumber salad, but you can also try steamed leafy greens if you’re looking for something quick and nourishing. 

Cucumber salad

This Chinese-style cucumber salad features a simple garlic-sesame vinaigrette for a delicious umami kick.

But, surprisingly, the best part of this salad are the cucumbers themselves.

They’re smashed, which gives them jagged edges that ensure every nook is covered in sauce. YUM.

Why we love this recipe: each serving only adds 47 calories to your meal.

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Vegetable stir fry 

Give your filled bao buns a healthy and flavorful boost with this veggie stir fry.

This recipe uses a colorful medley of veggies, but you can get creative here. Take it as an opportunity to use up any leftover vegetables in your fridge.

Pro-tip: cook the tougher veggies first to avoid the softer ones from getting soggy.

Why we love this recipe: it’s tastier and healthier than a typical takeout stir fry.

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Asian slaw

This Asian slaw is a fabulous accompaniment that will add a nice, vibrant color to your plate.

Plus, it doesn’t involve any cooking.

There is a lot of chopping. But if you want to skip that too, you can always use a pre-shredded mix from the store. I won’t tell!

Why we love this recipe: it has a 5 star rating after 158 reviews.

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Quick pickled red onions


These quick-pickled red onions are a must-have condiment. 

You can use them for anything – from burgers to tacos and, yes, even bao buns.

Their slightly sweet-tangy flavor combo is the perfect palate cleanser, especially if your bao buns are filled with something rich and heavy.

Why we love this recipe: you can get so much use out of one batch.

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Steamed bok choy

If you want something light and healthy to serve with your bao buns, you can’t go wrong with this bok choy dish.

The bok choy is steamed for a couple of minutes – just enough time to get the stalks satisfyingly crisp and juicy.

Then they’re tossed in a bright lime dressing.

Why we love this recipe: it’s great for busy weeknight dinners.

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Meat fillings

Char siu pork is one of the classic fillings for bao buns, but don’t be afraid to experiment! 

Stuff the fluffy buns with your zesty orange chicken or Szechuan beef for a fiery kick. 

You can also fill them with teriyaki chicken for a tasty fusion treat. 

Char siu pork 

Also known as Chinese BBQ pork, this is a very popular filling for bao buns. 

One of the most important elements of this dish is the marinade, which doubles up as a sauce. 

This marinade helps tenderize the meat, makes the pork flavorful, and gives it that signature red hue. 

Pro tip: don’t be shy with the marinade, a thick layer will give you a stickier texture.

Why we love this recipe: the oven does most of the work for you.

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Chicken katsu curry

Chicken katsu is usually deep-fried to achieve that famous crunchy crust.

But this recipe switches it up by using the air fryer. You’ll still get that golden crust but with less oil and calories.


Don’t forget to drizzle some of the flavorful curry sauce (recipe included) over your katsu-filled bao buns for the ultimate Japanese-Chinese fusion.

Why we love this recipe: it produces restaurant-quality results.

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Korean beef bulgogi

Bulgogi translates to “fire meat”, inspired by how it’s traditionally cooked – over a fire. 

These days it’s usually cooked in a skillet on the stovetop, but if you want an effortless experience, you can also use a slow cooker.

Psst… kimchi will make a perfect addition to your bulgogi bao bun.

And here are some more ideas for what to eat with bulgogi.

Why we love this recipe: everyone will be clamoring for second helpings.

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Seafood fillings

Go with a seafood filling if you want a lighter bao bun treat. 

Tempura fish nuggets will add that satisfying crunch, but you can also go with chili garlic shrimp if you’re craving something spicy. 

Spicy crab kani salad

Kani salad is often served as a side in its own right, but it also makes an excellent bao bun filling.

Instead of a plain mayo dressing, this recipe goes with a sriracha version, which gives your dish a fiery kick to balance out the sweet mangoes, meaty crab, and cooling cucumbers. 

Why we love this recipe: it’s something unique most people won’t have tried before.

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Tempura fish nuggets

Have you ever tried frying your fish with a tempura batter instead of the classic style batter? 

You get a beautifully delicate and lightly crisp crust – just make sure the batter is cold and the oil is very hot. 

These tempura fish nuggets are great in tacos, but I also love serving them in bao buns, topped with pickled onions and a creamy sauce. 

Why we love this recipe: both kids and adults will absolutely love these nuggets.

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Honey orange firecracker shrimp

Let’s continue the seafood theme with this firecracker shrimp.

The highlight of this dish is its sensational sauce. It’s brimming with sweet, spicy, and citrusy flavors. 

Psst… can’t handle too much spice? Use less chili sauce to adjust the heat. 

Why we love this recipe: taking less than 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

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Meat-free fillings

Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just want something new, these meat-free fillings will make your bao buns more satisfying. 

I like using red bean paste to curb my sweet tooth, but you can also go with kung pao cauliflower bites or king mushroom stir fry if you’d like to keep it savory. 

BBQ tofu pulled pork 

Transform your plain old block of tofu into a tasty faux pulled “pork”! 

The trick to getting that shredded look? Using extra firm tofu – anything softer won’t work for this dish. 

The result is moist, chewy tofu that won’t disintegrate while you cook. 

Pair this faux pulled pork with plenty of creamy coleslaw inside your fluffy bao bun.

Why we love this recipe: even meat-eaters will be raving about this.

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King oyster mushroom stir fry


This mushroom stir fry is one of the easiest meatless fillings you can make for your bao buns. 

It has a pleasant chewy texture and is packed full of umami goodness. 

Pro tip: remember to make some shallow slices on your mushrooms to let the spicy bean sauce and soy sauce seep into the interiors.

And you can swap the chilis for bell pepper if you prefer a milder filling.

Why we love this recipe: it transforms a humble ingredient into something really special.

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Red bean paste

Bao buns are also fabulous when stuffed with something sweet like this red bean paste. 

The taste is similar to cooked sweet potatoes –  sweet and creamy, with earthy undertones.

Nowadays, you can buy a ready-to-eat version, but making it from scratch is way better and allows you to control the sugar levels. 

Why we love this recipe: you can reuse the paste in various different Asian desserts.

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General Tso’s cauliflower

Not a fan of tofu as a meat substitute? How about trying cauliflower instead?

Okay, it doesn’t taste quite the same as chicken, but with that golden crust and General Tso sauce, you and your guests will barely notice the difference.

Plus, there are loads of health benefits to using cauliflower. It’s packed full of fiber and vitamins like C, K, and V.

Why we love this recipe: the sauce is finger-lickingly good.

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The best side dishes to serve with bao buns

The best side dishes to serve with bao buns include congee, pork dumplings, and Chinese-stuffed peppers. Try Asian slaw, steamed bok choy, or pickled red onions for vegetable options. You can also serve egg drop soup and Sichuan noodles. 

  • Pork dumplings
  • Chinese-stuffed peppers
  • Congee
  • Egg drop soup
  • Spicy Sichuan noodles
  • Cucumber salad
  • Vegetable stir-fry
  • Asian slaw
  • Quick-pickled red onions
  • Steamed bok choy

The best fillings for bao buns

The best fillings for your bao buns include char siu pork, chicken katsu curry, tempura fish nuggets, and Korean beef bulgogi. For meatless choices, try mushroom stir fry, BBQ tofu pulled pork, or General Tso’s cauliflower. For a sweet option, go for red bean paste. 

  • Char siu pork
  • Chicken katsu curry
  • Korean beef bulgogi
  • Spicy crab kani salad
  • Tempura fish nuggets
  • Honey orange firecracker shrimp
  • BBQ tofu pulled pork
  • King oyster mushroom stir-fry
  • Red bean paste
  • General tso’s cauliflower

What To Serve With Bao Buns (30 Ideas)

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your bao buns.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: bao bun side dishes, what to serve with bao buns
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 147kcal


  • 1 portion pork dumplings
  • 1 portion egg drop soup
  • 1 portion cucumber salad
  • 1 portion char siu pork
  • 1 portion red bean paste
  • 1 portion tempura fish nuggets … and more


  • Prepare your bao buns according to your favorite recipe.
  • In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
  • Side dishes include: pork dumplings, chinese-stuffed peppers, congee, egg drop soup, spicy sichuan noodles, cucumber salad, vegetable stir-fry, asian slaw, quick-pickled red onions, and steamed bok choy.
  • Fillings inclue: char siu pork, chicken katsu curry, korean beef bulgogi, spicy crab kani salad, tempura fish nuggets, honey orange firecracker shrimp, bbq tofu pulled pork, king oyster mushroom stir-fry, red bean paste, and general tso's cauliflower.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


Serving: 100g | Calories: 147kcal

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