Siopao is a Filipino steamed bun with meat filling. It is a larger version of Chinese dumplings. Traditionally, the two kinds of siopao are asado and bola-bola. Other kinds can be made, and the fillings for siopao are limitless.
Asado siopao is made with pork or beef cooked in soy sauce and seasonings. Bola-bola siopao is made with pork and Chinese sausage, which are baked with egg and flour. The dough is made from rice flour. Asado is the most popular kind, and can be found in the Philippines at both street vendors and restaurants. The convenience of being able to eat this dish with one hand is part of its appeal.
The Chinese version of siopao is called baozi. The filling for baozi is typically made from meat or vegetables, although other fillings are sometimes used. Tangbaozi is filled with soup, which is drunk through a straw. Some varieties are sweet and filled with jam or custard.
Baozi is thought to date back to the Three Kingdoms period in China, which lasted from 220 to 265 A.D. According to legend, Zhuge Liang invented this food in the shape of a human head as an offering when his troops came down with the plague. This food was originally called mantou, which means flour-head. It is still called this in some parts of Southern China, but it is mostly called baozi now.