How to Make Guabao, Taiwan’s Pork Belly Sandwich

How to Make Guabao, Taiwan’s Pork Belly Sandwich


When you’re in Taipei, you might come across this. This is a guabao, and it’s a specialty of northern Taiwan. Also known as a Taiwanese hamburger, guabao is one of the few Taiwanese delicacies that has made it big outside of the island. I met up with Ivy Chen, a private cooking class teacher in Taipei and an old friend of mine. So this is Shidong Market. Can you tell me a little bit about why you chose this market today? We went and bought pork, flour, and pickled mustard greens, and walked over to her apartment where we began the cooking process. First, we worked on the dough. So we just added a pinch of salt, and then what else do we do? Can I touch it? I just want to see. Oh, it’s very elastic. Kind of like a rubber band. Next is the pork. It is first blanched in boiling water to get rid of excess blood. Yeah, I always did it with boiling water and then my pork gets really tough. Why? By slowly heating the meat, the blood coagulates so that it is easily skimmed off. Okay. In a wok, she puts in rice wine and two types of soy sauce: regular and dark. And a bit of water. Is it low heat or high heat? Cinnamon, orange peel, After that’s done, it’s time to return to the dough. Oh, my goodness. It’s like a pillow! The dough is rolled out, brushed with oil, folded in half, and then steamed for about 10 minutes. The whole thing is assembled with peanuts and cilantro for taste. While guabao is celebrated internationally today, its origins are rooted in religion. Hey guys, I actually met Ivy three years ago at her cooking class here. She’s the one that taught me how to make xiaolongbao. I have since forgotten, and I learned guabao from her. If you want to learn more about Ivy’s cooking class, click the links below. Watch this for more videos on Taiwanese food, and don’t forget to subscribe to @Goldthread2.

9 thoughts on “How to Make Guabao, Taiwan’s Pork Belly Sandwich”

  1. I already eat my launch but I'm hungry again now.
    Btw I can't cook. Cooking is not in my blood. Though I started my cooking when I was like 12 years old. But still my cooking is bad 👎👎👎👎 I made my parents angry everytime.

  2. I have no idea how gua bao came to be associated with Taiwan or believed by some to have originated there when people in Fuzhou had been eating it for their own Weiya celebrations long before Taiwan was even colonised by the Chinese. The gua bao shows a clear Zhejiang cuisine influence which makes sense considering how close Fuzhou is to Zhejiang province with historical migration between the two (particularly evident in the city of Wenzhou where the Wenzhounese language shares features with the Min languages). Since Chinese people only settled on Taiwan about 400 years ago and all the early settlers were Southern Min and not Eastern Min like the Fuzhounese, putting the date of gua bao ending up on Taiwan that early at 300-400 years seems like quite a stretch. The only pre-1949 Chinese subgroup after the initial Southern Min colonisation were the Hakka who arrived in large enough numbers and purposely isolated themselves in Taiwan like they did on mainland China due to a history of anti-Hakka discrimination (although some Hakka live close to Taiwanese Aboriginals hence some Aboriginals adopting Hakka names). It's safer to say gua bao was introduced to Taiwan around the same time as other Fuzhounese specialities like hujiao bing or kompyang less than 200 years ago during the late Qing Dynasty. Due to the far earlier contact Japan had with Fuzhou, variants of gua bao and kompyang in Japan actually predate the ones found in Taiwan although the Taiwanese versions are far closer to the Fuzhounese originals. The Matsu islands which are governed by the Republic of China but reject a "Taiwanese" identity would have also eaten gua bao before those on the island of Taiwan did as they were settled earlier and are predominantly descended from Fuzhounese people unlike the Taiwanese.

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