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Posted on Jul 11, 2007 in Beans, Bento, Dumplings or Buns, For Kids, Lactose Free, Meat, Pasta or Noodles, Tofu | 21 comments

Pork bun lunches

Pork bun lunches


Pork bun lunch

Contents: Steamed pork buns (baozi) and sauce, tangerine teriyaki tofu, edamame, cherry tomato, and pepperonata (roasted red peppers in rustic tomato sauce). Not shown: 100% raspberry juice cut with water in the bento set’s drink container. I got a package of the pork buns from my local Chinese bakery, but I’ve also seen them frozen in Asian markets.

Morning prep time: 8 minutes, using pre-made food and leftovers. The pepperonata was from a jar, the tofu was pre-marinated and just needed a quick pan sear. I steamed both the pork buns and frozen edamame together in a big microwave steamer for a minute, then let it sit enclosed in the steamer afterwards for a minute to finish steaming (definitely improving the texture of the bun). I used pre-filled sauce containers of mixed soy sauce and rice vinegar for speed.

Packing: I went ahead and packed the warm buns, tofu and edamame in the boxes, then let them cool with the lids open for optimum packed lunch food safety. The moist pepperonata was well contained in this particular container with built-in dividers; if packed in a non-divided box it would have required separation or draining and drying. Packed in two 350ml containers from my Lock & Lock insulated lunch set.

Pork bun lunch for toddler

Click for preschooler bento details…

Pork bun lunch for toddler

Contents of preschooler lunch: Steamed pork bun and sauce, cherry tomato, edamame, and doctored macaroni and cheese with ham, sauteed red bell peppers, onions, zucchini, green onions, and jarred mild ajvar (roasted red pepper and eggplant spread) for a little something different.

Morning prep time: 6 minutes, using leftovers and pre-made items. I microwave steamed the pre-made pork bun and frozen edamame together, and briefly microwaved the leftover mac & cheese with a tablespoon of milk to restore the texture before packing (I don’t like the gummy texture it has straight out of the fridge).

Packing: Packed in the 280ml and 180ml tiers of a 4-tier nesting bento box (Thomas the Tank Engine).



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  1. Edamame has suddenly become very popular (it seems to be on alot of food blogs at the moment). Not that I mind, I love them myself.
    Pre-marinated tofu is a gift, I prefer firm tofu. Chinese ma pa tofu is a favourite of mine to put tofu to use. However, I am not sure as to how it would do in a lunchbox although it did fine when I was able to nuke it at work but that was just minutes before having it for lunch.

  2. Can you give us more information on those “pork buns”? I’ve never seen those here.

  3. I found my first Lock & Lock box yesterday, at Walmart of all places. (also found them later at the asian market I unearthed, but that’s another story). your posts make me want to go fill them up right now. :D

    Heck, your posts inspire me in general. :D

  4. Hi, I’m from the Philippines and it is just recently that I discovered bento lunches (would you believe it?) So I’ve been on a hunt here to find bento stuff and I found some which are extremely cheap. A container with dividers, chopsticks, and spoon and fork that costs 110 Philippine pesos ($2) and it was also 40% off. Ha! (:

    Anyway, here we call those pork buns, Siopao. The two kinds are Asado Siopao, beef, and Bola-Bola Siopao, pork. But it comes in all shapes, sizes, and even colors! I believe I’ve already seen green and pink ones. (:

    I love reading your blog and all the other bento blogs out there. I will try making some soon.

  5. I don’t get how the top half of the bento box (buns) and the bottom half don’t mix flavors. Is there a divider we’re not seeing taht keeps the peporonata from getting it’s flavor all over the buns? Or do you just carry these very very carfully.

    I love the bento box look, but I can’t figure out this part of it.


  6. @5 Nicole, it was packed in two separate lock and lock containers. click on the link above: my Lock & Lock insulated lunch set under the heading packing.

    (Sorry Biggie for butting in ;) )

  7. Thanks! That makes a lot more sense :)

  8. Do you make the pork buns or can you buy them frozen at the asian market?

    My kids love the dumplings & buns at restaurants and I would love to get some at home for them.

  9. Did you guys see the article on baozi (steamed buns) in China on CNN? If true, boy does that sound scary for people who love street food? -_-

    I have wondered how you make steamed buns. They look incredibly yummy.

  10. @1 from Jessica:
    This was firm tofu — pressed and marinated so it would hold up on the grill or in the frying pan. It is a gift to have some already marinated in the fridge! I’ve packed ma po tofu before, but I find it’s best packed in a separate container in a thermal lunch jar like the Mr. Bento. Stays warm with warm rice — yum.

  11. @2 from Balu:
    Sure, these are baozi (like Japanese “nikuman”) — full info here:

  12. @3 from TW:
    Hey, thanks for the kind words TW! I’ve seen the regular Lock & Lock boxes in the darndest places (supermarket, Walmart, etc.) — they have an excellent seal and are very secure (and cheap!!). A definite recommend.

  13. @4 from Jaclyn:
    Ooh, I’ll have to get down to Daly City (south of San Francisco, has a large Filipino population) and try some Filipino siopao! Thanks for the nice words — hope your lunches are delicious!

  14. @5 - 7 from Nicole and Jessica:
    Thanks Jessica for clearing that up! Yes, the lids are watertight (excellent seal), so nothing leaks. I’m not a believer in having to carry my lunches carefully — I often shove them in the diaper bag sideways (bad, I know) so I pack them to survive my rough treatment.

  15. @8 from Shannon:
    I bought these fresh in a package of six from my local Chinese bakery — throw them in the fridge or freezer, steam when you want to eat. I’ve also seen small versions in the frozen section of my Asian markets. Very handy and nice snacks! Good luck; hope you locate some.

  16. @9 from Lynnsie:
    I hadn’t seen that; thanks for the link. Man, that’s stomach-turning… I make steamed buns the easy way — buy them from my local Chinese bakery and steam in my microwave steamer. ;-)

  17. @6 Nicole you’re welcome :). I butt in all the time so hope you don’t mind :).

  18. came across your blog through Flickr…it is very nice!

  19. @18 from Kat:
    Hey thanks, Kat! Very kind of you.

  20. Biggie, which Chinese bakery? I know we don’t live very far from each other.

  21. Wow. I wandered over onto your site. I have to say you have some fabulous ideas. You have inspired me to try bento boxes.

    Nice to know there is a way to make lunches more interesting.

    Thanks for all your posts. :)