Our Tim Ho Wan Pork Buns Food Hack Are a Fun Challenge for Home Cooks

December 11, 2018

We don’t want none unless you got pork buns, hun.

Tim Ho Wan’s Pork Buns are famous for good reason. The bread is soft and light, the top layer sweet and crumbly, and the warm meaty inside so delightful. They are the primary reason it was incredibly difficult for anyone to get a seat at any of the international chain’s Manila branches when they first came to the Philippines 4 years ago.

We’re not going to mince words: this recipe is tough, and is a true testament to the fanfare that these buns receive. The recipe is intensive and not for the impatient, so if you’re in it for the final result and not for the process, you’re better off ordering from Tim Ho Wan. But if you want to try your luck, let us know how it goes by posting on social media with the hashtag #PepperCooks!

Tim Ho Wan Pork Buns Food Hack

  • Serves: 16 people
  • Active time: 3 hours
  • Total time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard



  • ½ cup. butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 egg
  • 4 tbsp. water


  • 2 cups pork belly, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup water + 1 tbsp. cornstarch, mixed


  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp. milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened



  1. To make the topping, whisk together softened butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl until pale, fluffy, and light.
  2. Add in the flour, cornstarch, egg, and water, and whisk until fully combined.
  3. Place mixture in a piping bag until ready to use.


  1. In a pan over medium high heat, add some oil and the pork belly.
  2. Cook pork until it begins to brown.
  3. Add in soy sauce, hoisin, oyster sauce, and sugar, stirring to combine.
  4. Add first ½ cup of water and stir, then place a lid over pan and cook until pork is tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and stir in water and cornstarch mixture.
  6. Cook filling until very thick.
  7. Remove from heat and place on a plate/tray in a single layer and cool completely until hard and easy to scoop.


  1. For the bread, combine yeast, sugar and warm milk in a small bowl.
  2. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add flour, sugar, egg, and salt.
  4. Combine on low speed, then add the yeast mixture.
  5. Turn mixer to medium speed and run for 2 minutes or until a rough dough forms.
  6. Turn off the mixer and add the softened butter.
  7. Turn mixer back on to medium speed for 8-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  8. Remove bowl from mixer and cover in plastic wrap.
  9. Let dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.


  1. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and cut into 16 equal pieces.
  2. Roll each piece into a ball and cover the pieces with plastic wrap.
  3. Working one piece at a time, flatten the ball into a circle and place a tablespoon of pork filling in the center.
  4. Gather the edges of the dough, sealing the filling inside.
  5. Roll back into a ball and rest on a lined baking sheet underneath plastic wrap.
  6. Repeat with all remaining pieces of dough.
  7. Once all 16 pieces are stuffed with filling, cover lined baking sheet with plastic and let dough rise again for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F.
  9. When the bread has doubled in size, cover each piece in topping, swirling over the bread to get a circle, going about halfway down each piece.
  10. Repeat with all 16 pieces.
  11. Bake buns in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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