Pork Belly Steamed Buns: A very Momofuku Thanksgiving

Pork Belly Steam Bun for Thanksgiving

A different kind of Thanksgiving!

In a few recent posts, I’ve mentioned that my husband and I went a less than traditional route this Thanksgiving. Instead of the usual turkey and stuffing combo, we decided to make a variety of our favorite Asian dishes instead. We still had a turkey to cook, but I bought a pork belly too so we could do something more exciting.

Here’s a preview of (a bit of) the spread we put out:


Steamed Buns, Pickled Veggies, Butter Lettuce and Pork Belly

We started with a batch of scallion pancakes, then moved into turkey yakitori meatballs. To do the meatballs, we removed the dark meat from our bird and ground it. We seasoned the meat with minced garlic, ginger and shallot, rolled the mixture into balls and chilled it until it was able to stay on the skewers. My husband totally gets props for lighting our charcoal grill in the cold just to cook off twenty meatballs. That, my friends, is true dedication. And his balls were very, very tasty. *Ahem.

I only got two pictures because I was too busy stuffing my face:

Turkey Yakitori


Turkey Yakitori

Next up was turkey sam bo — we roasted the turkey breasts and served them with lemongrass and ginger rice, butter lettuce and “dippy” sauce. I did a simple salt and pepper rub on the breasts so I could enjoy turkey and cranberry sandwiches later that week (yes, I also made some cranberry sauce — it would have felt wrong not to).

But the real darling of the evening was the pork belly steamed buns. I never wanted to stop eating them! In fact, it was hard — really really hard — not to keep eating until I dropped into a pork fat-induced coma.

The project started the day before when I did some quick pickles, which are a necessity when you’re eating something as rich as pork belly! I did cucumber slices and julienned carrots, both in a combo of sugar, rice wine vinegar and water.

Pickled Veggies for Steamed Buns

Pickled Veggies

The next afternoon, we began making the steamed buns — straight from David Chang’s cookbook Momofuku. We’ve made this recipe once before but I’d forgotten how delicious the buns come out — they are tender with just the right amount of chew.

And they are a snap to make. Once you have the dough ready to go, portion them into 25-gram balls. Roll the balls out, more in an oval shape than a circle. Once they are rolled out, fold them so they look like this:

Steamed Buns

Steamed Buns

Then set up your steamer:

Bamboo Steamer

Bamboo Steamer

And steam for about 7 minutes, until they are puffed and cooked through:

Asian Style Steamed BunsNext we took our pork belly, which had been roasted the day before, and cut fat slices off of it. They just needed a quick sear to get nice and crispy on the outside. They should be juicy and fatty and delicious on the inside. It’s like the best bacon you’ve ever eaten.

Bowl full of Pork Belly

Bowl full of Pork Belly

Then it’s time to get everything together:

Buns, Pickled Veggies and Pork Belly

Buns, Pickled Veggies and Pork Belly

Make a sandwich:

Add Hoisin Sauce (buy a good-quality brand, it really will make a difference!)

Add Hoisin Sauce (buy a good-quality brand, it really will make a difference!)

Add goodies:

DSC_0075Steamed BunsAnd enjoy!

I love you steamed buns!

I love you steamed buns!

And in case you were curious, steamed buns make the absolute BEST post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. The texture is perfect — soft yet chewy. Plus they are a great size for snacking — I ate a ton of these the weekend after.

Turkey Cranberry Steamed Buns

Turkey Cranberry Steamed Buns


18 thoughts on “Pork Belly Steamed Buns: A very Momofuku Thanksgiving

    • I am with you on that. They are amazing. I forget how easy they are to make and so it’s always too long in between batches. But I currently have a bag of buns in my freezer and that makes me oh-so-happy!

  1. Ahhhhhhhhh I LOVE pork belly buns! I’m so jealous! I definitely would love to take a peek at the Momofuku recipe for the buns if you wouldn’t mind!

    We had all the usual Thanksgiving Day foods but we also had many vegetarian dishes for my aunt AND I decided it’d be a good idea if we ordered a tray of pork spring rolls. Well apparently a huge tray isn’t enough when my family is visiting from out of town because I only had one the next day because everyone else freaking ate it all!!! I have a huge craving for those and pork belly buns now thanks to you ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. oh my gosh — I WANT!! i lovvvvve Chang’s pork buns — and when i read that part of his cookbook, it did not sound particularly easy. Thanks for calling it a Snap to make! i will have to finally go for it! your thanksgiving looks positively delightful ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! It was fun to do something so different — though I still have an itch to make stuffing and mashed potatoes! Give these a try – I promise they are easy. I’m always nervous when it comes to yeasted doughs but these are incredibly simple to make. Just a little time-consuming with the weighing, rolling and steaming. But they freeze really well so you can make a big batch (or 2!) and have a ton leftover for later.

  3. I love these buns! I have had them at Asian restaurants filled with duck. But since I am crazy for bacon I like the idea of pork belly. I am going to try this – making my own buns from scratch will be new for me – looks fun!

  4. Pingback: Time and Tsai’s Asian-Style Sloppy Joe Sliders | Attempts in Domesticity

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