The special cake Xiu Pao (Baked BBQ Pork Bun) in Nam Dinh - the uniqueness from its name to taste

The special cake Xiu Pao (Baked BBQ Pork Bun) in Nam Dinh - the uniqueness from its name to taste

Nam Dinh 04.06.2021

Xiu pao - with a golden crust exuding an attractive aroma and rich flavour - is a unique dish for all diners when they come to Nam Dinh.

Translated by nguyendo

Written by tinhnt

Located around 80km from Hanoi, Nam Dinh has always been one of the favorite destinations for many tourists with long-standing cultural works and traditional craft villages. Nevertheless, when referring to the ancient “Thanh Nam land”, visiting these places is not enough as there is a wide range of delicious specialties you should try, especially Xiu Pao.

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Xiu Pao is a specialty of Nam Dinh. Photo: baothaibinh

An introduction to Xiu Pao

Xiu Pao or Xiu Bao originates from China: Xiu means char siu; Pao means bun; and Xiu Pao means “baked bun with char siu inside”. As one of the delicious and popular dishes of Nam Dinh, Xiu Pao wins the hearts of many tourists whenever they have the opportunity to visit this land. This kind of cake has “followed” the Chinese people to Nam Dinh for a long time. Due to its small and beautiful shape, many people initially mistake Xiu Pao as fried dumplings or Pia cake from Soc Trang.

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Xiu Pao is entirely made from flour without any baking powder, so the cake still retains its small and beautiful shape after being baked. Photo: tintucnamdinh.vn

How to make Xiu Pao

Making Xiu Pao is also a relatively meticulous process. To make this delicious golden cake, there will be two main steps; making the cake crust and filling. The crust is made from flour and in order to have a perfect crust, you have to be very meticulous to create layers of dough like Pia cake. After being baked, the crust must be soft but chewy.

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The filling of Xiu Pao. Photo: liliumdessert

For the filling, the ingredients include pork tenderloin marinated in 12 hours with minced garlic, oyster sauce, honey and five-spice powder; then the mixture is fried until it becomes brown and this is called char siu. At this time, the char siu is diced, mixed with wood ear, boiled chicken eggs and lard. The filling is put in the crust and then the cake will be baked. Open the oven every 15 minutes to sweep the fat layer and the egg yolks ( which have been beaten) so that the cake will be soft and fragrant with an attractive brown color.

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Enjoy hot Xiu Pao with a cup of hot tea on a cold day. Photo: @ngo_phuong_thuy

While the Pia cake impresses tourists by the sweet and fragrant filling made from green beans, durian and the greasy taste of fat meat, Xiu Pao has a completely different flavor. When enjoying a hot Xiu Pao, you can feel the soft and greasy crust of char siu, the aroma of onions, the rich taste of eggs, the spicy taste of pepper, and the crunchy texture of the wood ear. The harmonious blending of ingredients in the filling creates an attractive taste. The cake has a variety of flavours which will make you fall in love with it from the first bite. On a cold day, enjoy this small but delicious cake with a cup of acrid green tea, you will be lured by the wonderful combination.

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The oldest and most famous Xiu Pao shops are usually located on Hoang Van Thu street, Nam Dinh city. Photo: @keomut925

The oldest and most famous Xiu Pao shops are often located on Hoang Van Thu Street, formerly known as Chinatown. It is merely a beautiful little cake but has long-standing traditions inside. The price for each cake usually ranges from VND 5,000 - 8,000/piece.

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Xiu Pao is available in many provinces in Vietnam, but the best ones are still in Nam Dinh.

Arriving in Nam Dinh, you will see a lot of Xiu Pao all over the streets. People here consider this cake as a familiar and indispensable part of daily life. With the development of the culinary culture, Xiu Pao has appeared in many places in the S-shaped country, but the best ones are still in Nam Dinh province.