When we visited Taiwan, Gua Bao was one of K’s favorite Taiwanese snacks. The best way to describe it is a pork belly slider with Chinese pickles, ground peanuts and cilantro. Gua Bao is the Taiwanese pronunciation and it’s sometimes called Tiger-chomping-on-pig (虎咬豬) since the bun opens like a tiger’s jaw and bites into a piece of pork. Kind of cute.
Gua Bao has layers of delicious and balanced flavors. Biting into one in slow motions kind of goes like this: Biting into soft steamy bun, smelling a fragrant mix of roast peanuts and cilantro, then tasting the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly followed by crunchy pickles and peanuts with fresh cilantro that cuts through the fat and keeps everything light.
Heaven in a bun.
I like roasting and grounding the peanuts fresh for the intense nutty fragrance and taste. However, I purchase the Chinese pickled mustard greens and buns from the Chinese supermarket. If you’re interested in making the buns from scratch, Ms. Zhou has a great blog post on it.
I used the same pork belly recipe from a prior post but cut the pork into larger pieces.
Gua Bao (割包 / 刈包)
Makes 15 small buns
- 15 small Gua Bao buns
- 1.5 lbs of Soy Braised Pork Belly *
- ⅓ cup Shelled Peanuts
- Pinch of Sugar **
- ¼ cup Chinese Pickled Mustard Greens, finely chopped
- Handful of Cilantro, chopped
- Boil water and steam buns for 10 minutes
- Dry roast peanuts in a dry pan over medium heat until peanuts are golden and fragrant. Then ground in a food processor with a pinch of sugar.
- To assemble: Gently open a bun and place a slice or 2 of pork belly on the bottom, top with a bit of pickles, ground peanuts and cilantro.
* Note: Best way to remove the fat from the sauce is to refrigerate overnight then skim off the solidified fat.
** Note: Traditionally the ground peanuts are slightly sweet. Or store-bought ground peanuts can be used with a bit of granulated sugar added.