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40 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 40 of the most popular side dishes and fillings for bao buns.

Ready? Let’s get started.

What sides 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. 

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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Congee

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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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, and General Tso’s cauliflower. For a sweet option, go for red bean paste. 

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.

Win-win!

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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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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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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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.

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

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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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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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The best side dishes to serve with bao buns

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

The best fillings for bao buns

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

What To Serve With Bao Buns

In this short recipe, I show you exactly what to serve with your bao buns.
5 from 1 vote
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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

Ingredients

  • 1 portion bao buns

Instructions

  • 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: cucumber salad, congee, pork dumplings, vegetable stir fry, chinese stuffed peppers, asian slaw, quick pickled red onions, egg drop soup, steamed bok choy, and spicy sichuan noodles.
  • Fillings inclue: char siu pork, chicken katsu curry, spicy crab kani salad, bbq tofu pulled pork, king oyster mushroom stir fry, red bean paste, korean beef bulgogi, general tso’s cauliflower, tempura fish nuggets, and honey orange firecracker shrimp.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 147kcal

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