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sliced siopao with meatball filling on a plate
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4.41 from 5 votes

Siopao Bola-Bola

Filipino-style Steamed Buns with meatballs are the ultimate snack or light meal. With soft, fluffy buns and juicy, flavorful minced pork filling, these Siopao Bola-Bola are sure to hit the spot.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rise2 hrs 40 mins
Total Time3 hrs 35 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Filipino
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 469kcal


For the Siopao Dough

  • 260 ml warm milk (105 to 115 F)
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • lime

For the Bola-bola Filling

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup shrimp, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/2 salted eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 2 Chinese sausages, cut into 1-inch lengths

For Asado Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch


For the Siopao Dough

  • In a bowl, combine milk, yeast, the 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt. Stir well until dissolved. Let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, the 100 grams sugar, baking powder, and vegetable oil. Mix well. Add a few drops of lime juice into the flour mixture.
  • Add yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Mix together until it forms a dough. Continue to mix and knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until double in size.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a clean work surface, and form into a long log. 
  • With a knife or pastry cutter, slice the dough into 10 equal size pieces and then form each piece into smaller balls. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.

For the Bola-bola filling

  • In a medium bowl, combine ground pork, chopped shrimp, green onions, green onions, sesame oil, salt, and pepper.  Stir well to combine everything,
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry and add to the pork mixture.
  • Using a pair of chopsticks or a fork, stir the meat mixture in one direction until well-combined and very sticky. 
  • Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble the Siopao Buns

  • On a clean working surface, place one piece of dough, and with a rolling pin, roll out into about 5 to 6-inch diameter, making sure to get edges thinner than the center.
  • Place about a tablespoon of the meat filling in the center. Add a piece of salted egg and Chinese sausage.
  • Gather the edges of the dough, pleat around the filling, and twist to fully secure. Place bun on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  • Arrange prepared buns in a single layer on a flat baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel, and allow to rise again for another 10 minutes.
  • In a steamer, place buns in a single layer, an inch-apart. Add about 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the steaming water (for whiter buns). 
  • Steam buns on low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep the lid on for about 3 to 5 minutes to prevent the buns from deflating.
  • Remove from steamer and serve with the asado sauce.

For the Asado Sauce

  • In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, star anise, and cornstarch. Stir until well-distributed.
  • Cook over medium heat, whisking regularly until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.



Nutritional info includes the sauce.


Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 807mg | Potassium: 359mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 3mg