Steamed Japanese Meat Buns (Nikuman) are soft, fluffy buns filled with a satisfying combination of succulent meat and fresh vegetables. They are great as a tasty snack or a flavorful side dish. Their delightful flavor and texture make them the perfect comfort food.
You probably consider Thailand to be a pretty popular destination for people to visit, but Japan doesn't seem to have the same appeal, at least for us Americans. When Jacob and I were planning our trip, stopping in Japan was really just a way for us to cut costs. We actually had a lot of friends ask us, "Why Japan?". And to be honest, I'd never even considered traveling to Japan before this trip. Places like England, Italy and France were always at the top of my list, but Japan, not so much.
But, in all reality...Japan not only exceeded my expectations, but I was absolutely blown away by the country! Not only was the culture amazing, but the food was so delicious, the people were so friendly, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful. Such a neat country to visit, and I HIGHLY recommend it!
Of course, while there were so many great parts of Japan, I was naturally excited about trying all of the new food. Some of my favorites included ramen, tonkatsu, mochi, and my inspiration for today's recipe...pork buns. Ugh, sooo good. I'm totally craving some Japanese cuisine right now!
While we were exploring Japan, I made an effort to search for all of the new foods that we needed to try. There was a specific restaurant in Kyoto that I knew we needed to visit on our way to the Kiyomizudera Temple. This restaurant was well-known for its meat buns (or Nikuman): steamed buns made with a flour dough and filled with meat. So, we picked up some meat buns on our way to the Japanese temple, and enjoyed them so much that we purchased more on our way back! It's funny how something so simple can be so satisfying!
Since I have no idea where to get my hands on these meat buns in America, I've decided to take a stab at making my own. While they aren't exactly the same as true Japanese steamed pork buns, they come pretty dang close. Yes, I know the thought of making these from scratch may sound rather intimidating, I thought that too. But I think you'll be surprised to find out that it's a lot easier than you think.
Are pork buns Chinese or Japanese?
Nikuman is the Japanese name for Chinese baozi. The steamed buns are made from flour dough and filled with cooked pork or beef and are actually enjoyed in many countries throughout South East Asia in addition to Japan and China.
How do you cook pork buns without a steamer?
No steamer? No problem! This video has a great tutorial for steaming pork buns without a steamer.
How long do pork buns last in the fridge?
Cooked buns can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge or 4-6 weeks in the freezer. To reheat the buns from frozen or refrigerated, let them come to room temperature. Steam the buns for 5-7 minutes or until hot.
Cooked buns will keep in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator or 4 to 6 weeks in the freezer. To reheat: If frozen, let the buns thaw and come to room temperature; if refrigerated, let them come to room temperature. Then steam the buns in bamboo steamers until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.
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