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Hawaiian style steamed pork buns. Fluffy dough with sweet and savory pork filling.
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Chinese, Hawaiian
Keyword buns, Hawaiian, manapua, pork, steamed
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rise time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 195kcal


  • Small bowl
  • Stand mixer with bowl can mix and knead by hand but it is more work
  • Large glass bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Frying pan
  • Steamer basket


For the dough:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • ¾ cup lukewarm water
  • 2 TBS canola oil
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Scant 3 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 2 cups diced barbecue pork
  • 3 tbs white onion finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoons corn starch with 2 teaspoons of water
  • 3-4 drops red food coloring optional


To make the dough in a stand mixer:

  • Put the yeast in a small bowl, add the water and set aside for 1 minute to soften. Whisk in the oil to blend and dissolve the yeast. Set aside.
  • Combine the sugar, baking powder and flour in the bowl of the mixer. Using the dough hook, mix at low-speed to combine. Add the yeast/water/oil mixture. With the mixer on medium, allow it to knead the dough until it forms a large ball and cleans the sides of the bowl. If this doesn't happen add warm water, 1 TBS at a time until it forms a large ball and mostly cleans the sides of the bowl. It should feel medium-soft and tacky but should not stick to your finger.
  • If you don't use a stand mixer, you can mix and knead the dough by hand. It will take about five minutes of kneading to achieve the desired texture.
  • Lightly oil a large glass bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place to rise until nearly doubled. This will take about an hour but timing will vary depending on the temperature of the room.

To make the filling:

  • While the dough is proofing, get ready the ingredients for the fillings. In a frying pan, add 3 tablespoons cooking oil. Sauté the onions until translucent. Add the barbecue pork and stir fry until well mixed. Add the cooking wine, sesame oil, sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add ½ the cornstarch/water solution stirring constantly until transparent. Add more thickener if needed. Add red food coloring if desired. Traditional filling is bright red in color. Set filling aside for later assembly.
  • Once the dough has finished the first proofing, it is time to assemble the manapua. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and divide it into 16 equal pieces. Using your hands or a small rolling-pin, form the dough into 5 inch rounds. Place tablespoon of filling in the center of each bun. Bring the edges of the dough circle together.
  • Get a steamer ready with 2 inches of water. This can be an electric steamer or a stove-top steamer. Add the filled dough to the steamer and steam the buns over high heat for about 12-15 minutes. Turn off the steamer and open the lid ever so slightly to let the steam escape. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before removing the buns from the steamer. Best served warm.


Cook and prep times are just approximations. Your skill level and steamer size will dictate how long it takes.


Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 683mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg