December 27, 2019 2 min read 1 Comment

Sheng Jian Bao

Sheng Jian Bao are pan-fried pork soup buns from my my birthplace, Shanghai. They are a wonderfully delicious street food snack. I hope you love these bao as much as I have loved making them!

Gather your ingredients

  • white paper mache box 2.5 inch
  • ivory crepe
  • light brown crepe
  • green crepe
  • black crepe
  • Aleene’s original tacky glue
  • Copic E97, E99, or similar colored orangey-brown pastels or paint
  • scissors
  • optional: nude pink crepe for interior “meat filling”

 Cover your bao

Punch in bottom of box to form a flat bottom to mimic the overall shape of a bao. Cover top and bottom parts of the box with light brown crepe.

Cut out a rectangle of ivory crepe (approximately 8.5 by 3.5 inches tall). Fold over 1 inch and glue down. This folded edge will be used to create the pleats of your bao. Pleat crepe in an accordion-like fashion. Once you are happy with the pleat pattern, add glue between the pleats to help them retain their shape. 

Cover box with ivory crepe. 

Take your pleated crepe and encircle your the top of the box. Allow a small circle of the brown to show through the top and try to tuck the ends in so they are not highly visible. Tuck crepe along box edge to keep it nice and neat and glue down. Trim off any excess.

 Cover bottom of the bao box in ivory crepe. I like encircle with a rectangle of crepe first. Then use a small strip of ivory crepe and mummy wrap along the bottom. Again, tuck crepe along box edge to keep it nice and neat and glue down. Trim off any excess.

Make the toppings

Make sliced green onion. First cut thin long rectangles. The length of the rectangle should be parallel to the grain of heavyweight green crepe. Glue around a small paintbrush to form thin cylindrical tubes and cut slices out with scissors.

 Cut black sesame seeds from black crepe. Think of a very tiny teardrop shape while cutting.

 Glue sesame and green onion to your bao in a random pattern.

 Pan-fry the bottom

Color bottom of the bao brown to make it look actually pan-fried as it is in real life. I prefer using Copic airbrush with E97 and E99 Copic alcohol markers, but you can also use pastels or paint.

 Decorate the interior

You can paint the interior in a desired color such as a shimmery gold. This is a particularly nice touch for gift giving.

 To make the interior “meat” of the bao, take apart a spun cotton ball. Smash pieces together into a meat ball like shape. You want some lumpiness to make it look realistic. Wrap in layers of pinkish crepe with green crepe bits.

Enjoy your bao! To see more of my paper art please visit or follow me on instagram @shanghai.1984

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