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What to Serve with Bao Buns: 10 Delicious Side Dishes

Bao buns have taken the food scene by storm, fluffy pillows of happiness ready to be stuffed with all sorts of goodies.

But what’s the deal with sides? Sure, they’re the main star, but even stars need a solid supporting cast to truly shine.

We’re here to ace that audition. Think crispy, think saucy, think textures that make your mouth do a happy dance.

From tangy pickled veggies to spicy fries that kick back, we’ve rounded up 10 knock-out side dishes that’ll turn your bao bun meal into a feast to remember.

Grab your chopsticks (or fork, no judgment here), and let’s dig into sides that are anything but side-kicked.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Bao Buns?

Adding a variety of flavorful side dishes to your bao bun spread not only enhances the overall meal but also provides a delightful culinary experience.

Experimenting with different flavors and textures alongside the light and fluffy bao buns creates a dynamic dining adventure suitable for any occasion.

Furthermore, the versatility of the bao bun enables it to complement a wide array of dishes, ensuring there is something for everyone at the table.

By serving a diverse selection of both vegetarian and meat-based sides, you can accommodate various dietary preferences and restrictions, making the meal inclusive and enjoyable for all your guests.

The addition of sides not only enriches the dining experience but also helps stretch the supply of bao buns, ensuring a satisfying and fulfilling meal for everyone to relish together.

10 Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Bao Buns

Now that we’ve established the benefits of serving side dishes with bao buns, let’s dive into some delicious options to consider.

From classic Asian flavors to creative fusion dishes, these sides are sure to elevate your bao bun experience.

1 – Cucumber Salad with Sesame Dressing

A refreshing and light option, cucumber salad adds a nice crunch to balance out the soft texture of bao buns.

Tossed in a tangy sesame dressing, this dish is perfect for hot summer days or as a side dish to accompany any meal.

When preparing this salad, it is important to use fresh and crisp cucumbers. You can opt for the classic English cucumber or add some Asian flair with Japanese or Persian cucumbers.

If you prefer a sweeter dressing, you can substitute the sesame dressing with a sweet and sour vinaigrette.

Simply mix together rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil to taste.

For an extra kick of flavor, consider adding some thinly sliced red onions or diced bell peppers to the salad.

You can also top it off with some toasted sesame seeds for added texture and nuttiness.

2 – Vegetable Spring Rolls

For a lighter option that still packs a flavorful punch, vegetable spring rolls are a perfect side dish for bao buns.

These crispy and savory rolls are filled with a variety of vegetables, such as carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms, making them a healthy addition to any meal.

To save time in the kitchen, you can use pre-made spring roll wrappers or opt for the more traditional rice paper wrappers.

You can also experiment with different fillings, such as adding some shrimp or tofu to the mix.

Serve these spring rolls with a side of sweet chili sauce for dipping, or make your own spicy peanut sauce by mixing together peanut butter, soy sauce, sriracha, and honey.

3 – Stir-Fried Green Beans

Stir-fried green beans are a classic Chinese side dish that pairs well with bao buns.

The tender yet crunchy texture of the beans, combined with the savory garlic and ginger flavors, makes for a delicious accompaniment to any meal.

To make this dish, simply stir-fry some fresh green beans with minced garlic and ginger in a hot wok or pan. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a pinch of sugar for balance.

For added protein, you can toss in some diced tofu or sliced beef to make it a heartier dish. You can also add other vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms to the stir-fry for extra flavor and texture.

4 – Spicy Szechuan Cucumber Salad

For those who enjoy a bit of heat, try serving a Spicy Szechuan Cucumber Salad alongside your bao buns.

This dish features cucumbers marinated in a spicy sauce made with chili oil, black vinegar, and garlic.

To make the marinade, simply mix together chili oil, soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and minced garlic.

Pour the marinade over thinly sliced cucumbers, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to develop.

For added complexity of flavor, you can also add some Szechuan peppercorns to the marinade or top off the dish with some chopped peanuts or cilantro.

5 – Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

A classic dim sum dish, shrimp dumplings or Har Gow are a delicious side to serve with bao buns.

These steamed dumplings have a delicate and thin wrapper filled with a savory mixture of shrimp, bamboo shoots, and seasonings.

While making homemade shrimp dumplings may seem intimidating, you can easily find pre-made dumpling wrappers at most Asian supermarkets.

Simply fill the wrappers with the shrimp mixture, fold them into crescent shapes, and steam for around 10 minutes.

Serve these dumplings with a side of soy sauce or a spicy chili sauce for dipping. You can also add some diced water chestnuts to the filling for added texture.

6 – Edamame

For a simple and healthy side dish, consider serving steamed edamame with your bao buns.

These young soybeans are not only a great source of protein and fiber, but they also make for a tasty snack or side dish.

To prepare edamame, simply steam the pods in some salted water for around 5 minutes until they are tender. You can serve them hot as is or sprinkle them with some sea salt for added flavor.

For a twist on traditional edamame, you can also try pan-frying them in some oil and seasoning them with your favorite spices or herbs.

7 – Watercress Salad

Watercress is a nutritious and flavorful leafy green that pairs well with bao buns. Its slightly bitter taste adds depth to the meal, and its crisp texture makes for a refreshing side dish.

To make this salad, toss together some fresh watercress leaves with sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and your choice of dressing. For an Asian-inspired dressing, mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and honey.

For added protein and heartiness, you can top off the salad with some sliced hard-boiled eggs or diced avocado.

Alternatively, you can also add some grilled shrimp or chicken for a filling and flavorful meal.

8 – Pan-Fried Gyoza

Similar to Har Gow, pan-fried gyoza are another popular dumpling dish that makes for a delicious side with bao buns.

These dumplings have a crispy bottom and a tender filling of ground pork, cabbage, and seasonings.

To make gyoza at home, simply fill pre-made dumpling wrappers with the desired filling, fold them into half-moon shapes, and pan-fry them until crispy on the bottom.

You can also steam or boil them for a different texture.

Serve these gyoza with a side of dipping sauce made with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic. You can also add some diced scallions or cilantro on top for added freshness.

9 – Fried Rice

For a more filling side dish option, fried rice is a perfect accompaniment to bao buns. This classic Chinese dish is versatile and can be customized with your choice of protein and vegetables.

To make fried rice at home, start by cooking some day-old white rice in a hot wok or pan with some oil. Add in your choice of diced protein, such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu, along with diced vegetables like carrots, peas, and onions.

Season the rice mixture with soy sauce and sesame oil to taste for added flavor. You can also add some egg to the mix for a more traditional fried rice recipe.

10 – Kimchi

Kimchi, a popular Korean side dish made with fermented vegetables, is another great option to serve alongside bao buns.

This spicy and tangy condiment adds depth of flavor and crunch to any meal.

You can easily find pre-made kimchi at most Asian supermarkets, or you can make your own at home.

Simply mix together Napa cabbage, daikon radish, scallions, garlic, and chili flakes with salt and let it ferment for a few days before serving.

Serve kimchi as is on the side of your bao buns, or use it as a topping for some added kick of flavor.

You can also incorporate it into other dishes, such as fried rice or stir-fried noodles. Overall, kimchi is a versatile and delicious addition to any meal.


In conclusion, bao buns are a versatile and delicious meal that can be accompanied by various side dishes to enhance the dining experience.

From stir-fried green beans to spicy cucumber salad, there are endless options for sides that pair well with these fluffy buns.

Experiment with different flavors and textures to find your perfect combination. So go ahead and try out these different side dishes to create a complete and satisfying meal with your bao buns.

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