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looking for Puto Pao

jackzhlin Mar 17, 2010 01:00 PM

Does anyone know where to get this Filipino dessert in the Bay Area? It's but the puto bun with some char siu beef inside and sometimes even an egg I think. I got pics below. My girlfriend talks about it a lot (used to have it all the time in Guam), but I just can't find it... anyone? I was going to give her some as part of a bday present.


  1. josquared Mar 18, 2010 08:20 AM

    Is that the same thing as siopao? If so, then Valerio's and Red Ribbon have them; I'm sure other places do too, but that's where my parents tend to get them (when they're not making them themselves)


    9 Replies
    1. re: josquared
      pilinut Mar 18, 2010 09:02 AM

      Not quite the same thing: same filling, but the yeast bread in siopao (a sibling of char siu bao) is substituted with a sweet rice cake (puto) usually leavened with baking powder or baking soda.

      1. re: pilinut
        josquared Mar 18, 2010 09:55 AM

        Ahh, okay. Thanks for the explanation. I know of puto but didn't know that you could actually use that to make a pao.

        Funny how this stuff is - my mom's version of bibingka is totally different than any other people's versions of bibingka I've seen or had at various get-togethers. That's part of what makes this stuff fun

        1. re: josquared
          pilinut Mar 18, 2010 11:11 PM

          What sort of bibingka does your mom make? "Bibingka" covers several different kinds of sweet, some steamed, some baked, some cake-like, others more like pudding. The most common types are:

          Bibingka Galapong, made with ground rice (galapong) and traditionally baked using charcoal above and below the pan. It has a cake-like texture and is often topped with white farmer's cheese and/or salted egg;

          Cassava Bibingka, finely grated cassava root with coconut milk and eggs, often topped with kalamay (a caramelized coconut jam) this usually has the consistency of a dense bread pudding or very firm polenta.

          Bibingka, a.k.a., biko, another very dense slab of coconut milk, sticky rice, and/or pinipig (rice that has been flattened and dried, it looks a little like instant oatmeal), usually covered with kalamay as well. Texturally, it's a cross between mochi and oatmeal.

          And I'm sure there are others I do not remember, or simply have never tried.

      2. re: josquared
        jackzhlin Mar 18, 2010 09:50 AM

        no dice at Valerio's.. they did mention the siu pao though. :(

        oh Puto Pao, wherefore art thou?

        yelp searches only yield puto not puto pao... but i need that meat inside. sometimes it even has salted egg inside too.

        1. re: jackzhlin
          Scott M Mar 18, 2010 09:59 AM

          Here is an article that may give you some leads. I suggest just calling down the list, maybe you will get lucky.


          1. re: Scott M
            jackzhlin Mar 19, 2010 07:22 PM

            good stuff! but still no go.. none of them carry it.. one phone number is dead i think it's Gold Tray Manila. but at least some of them knew what I was talkin about.


            Gold Tray Manila
            5320 Monterey Hwy, San Jose, CA 95111

          2. re: jackzhlin
            majordanby Mar 18, 2010 05:17 PM

            i would call bakeries around the bay area, specifically in daly city, vallejo and union city, which are all cities with large populations of filipinos. As a poster mentioned above, this is not a common dessert amongst American based filipino bakeries. I tasted it when i was in the Philippines, but have not once come across it here in the states.

            1. re: jackzhlin
              pilinut Mar 18, 2010 11:14 PM

              Would you consider making your own puto pao? Or buying a fluffy white puto and filling it with braised char siu or Filipino pork asado (which is nothing like a Mexican asado.)

              1. re: jackzhlin
                jackzhlin Mar 19, 2010 07:23 PM

                yeah i think if i cannot find any by cold calling around vallejo and other areas, i might just make my own.. did really want to have that authentic taste though.. with me it's just gonna be like a trial-and-error process haha.

                wait does anyone know any relatives in the area that can make puto pao? i can pay...

            2. pilinut Mar 17, 2010 11:30 PM

              "Puto Pao"--gee, I never thought I'd see those words outside the Philippines where it's considered one of our innumerable snacks and made of savory-sweet stewed pork stuffed in a steamed rice cake. I've never looked for it here, but if I were to try, one of the first places I'd check would be Valerio's in Daly City. The Yelp link below also shows some other Filipino bakeries. (Not being a great fan of sweetened breads, I'm not familiar with most of them.)


              Good luck, and let us know if you find a good version!

              1. Scott M Mar 17, 2010 01:16 PM

                You could call Andrea Foods in Vallejo they might have it.

                1109 Maple Ave., Vallejo

                (707) 644-0518

                1 Reply
                1. re: Scott M
                  jackzhlin Mar 18, 2010 09:47 AM

                  sigh.. no go.. did not carry that. half sounded like they had no idea what it is. :(

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