6 Great Side Dish Ideas To Pair With Your Pork Belly Bao Buns

pork belly bun side dish

Anyone who has ever had a pork belly bun knows that they are absolutely delicious.

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But how to turn this dish into a hearty meal rather than eating it as a comfort finger food? 

It is essential to find out the best side dishes to serve with your pork belly buns.

In this post, we are going to provide you with some great ideas that will have you and your guests enjoying these tasty treats all day long!

What are pork belly buns?

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Pork belly buns, or pork belly bao buns, are becoming increasingly popular outside Asia, and for good reason- they are absolutely delicious.

They are basically a sandwich made with pork belly that is simmered until tender and fried with a flavorful and rich sauce of soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, chili, honey, lemongrass paste, ginger, other spices, and fresh herbs for the filling.

The buns can be made from rice flour or wheat flour per your preference, and they can be made at home or bought from the grocery store.

The resulting dish can be served as the main course, a brunch, or even a snack. 

What to consider when choosing a pork belly buns’ side dish?

Pork belly buns can be consumed on their own.

However, if you want to make your meal more than just a simple bun, there are some things you should keep in mind before choosing a side dish for pork belly buns:

Pork belly buns should be served with an Asian (Chinese) side dish

We have to admit that pork belly buns work better with an Asian/Chinese dish on the side.

Although you literally can pair it with whatever you like, a typical Chinese side dish will work best to complement your pork bao buns.

Consider the cooking time to make the side dishes

There are many side dishes for you to choose from to serve with pork belly buns, but you should also consider the cooking time.

This is to make sure that everyone at your party won’t have to wait too long for their food and the buns won’t be too cold.

If you are short on time, a small bowl of dipping sauce is enough to elevate your pork belly buns.

Otherwise, opt for a more complicated dish like rice or noodle soup for a more hearty meal.

6 best side dishes to serve with pork belly buns

Here are the six side dishes from both Asian and Western cuisines that can pair well with your pork belly buns:

1. Fried rice

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Rice is obviously one of the most classic dishes in Asian cuisine.

Fried rice is a side dish that is both filling and delicious.

While steamed rice comes with a mild taste, the fried rice recipe calls for different ingredients and spices to result in a more flavorful taste.

Since the buns are already packed with a certain number of carbs, you only need a small bowl or plate of fried rice.

2. Noodle soup

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Another Asian staple that works well with pork belly buns is a bowl of noodle soup.

A noodle soup can literally help warm your body and your soul with its delicious and hearty flavor.

There are different broth options to label your Asian noodles, from meat like pork, beef, or chicken, to a vegan broth.

3. Omelets

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Omelets can be a good side for your sticky pork belly buns too.

Omelets are an easy-to-make dish that even a kid can do.

The recipe calls for beaten eggs that are fried with butter or oil.

The dish can come with or without a filling in the folded fried eggs per your preference.

4. Cucumber salad

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What is better than a bowl of salad to balance the rich and sticky pork belly buns?

Cucumber salad provides a crunchy texture and refreshing flavor that is sure to make your meal more enjoyable.

This dish can be done with ease from easy-to-find ingredients, so you can even make a cucumber salad in minutes before serving the main course.

5. Pickles

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Pickles are another common side of Asian cuisine.

Pickles can be made with different kinds of veggies, but some of the most popular choices are cucumber, onions, daikon, or cabbage.

The sour taste and crunchy texture of pickles will help offset the rich and savory taste of pork belly buns, making your meal more harmonious.

6. Dipping sauce

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Sometimes, you only need to serve your pork belly buns with a small bowl of dipping sauce.

A light dipping sauce that contains soy sauce will be the best choice in this case.

Soy sauce is a typical ingredient in Asian cuisine, and the umami flavor of this sauce will be a perfect addition to your juicy pork belly buns.

The bottom line

After reading this article, you know that there are many ways to accompany your pork belly buns, from a traditional recipe to a modern one.

We hope these suggestions have helped you make a decision on which one is best suited for your taste buds and will complement your juicy pork belly buns without any fuss.

Happy cooking!