Spicy Katsu Bao Recipe

Spicy Katsu Bao

Bao with spicy katsu and vegetables
Servings 4


Spicy Katsu

  • 1 lb Chicken cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 2 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha or any other hot sauce
  • 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups Oil

Spicy Mayo

  • 1/2 cup Mayo
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • Sesame Oil (just a drop)
  • 2 tbsp Pickled Jalapeno Peppers diced


  • 1 cup Cabbage shredded
  • 1 Jalapeno or Serrano Peppers diced
  • Sriracha
  • 2 Green Onion sliced


  • 8 Steamed Sandwich Buns (Frozen Bao)


Prepare the Chicken and Breading

  • Start by taking your chicken and slicing it into strips or thin chicken nugget like shapes.
  • Mix together your flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk your egg with the sriracha (or hot sauce).
  • In another large bowl (or plate), pour in a layer of panko breadcrumbs.
  • Pour your oil into a pan and set to medium heat.

Make the Spicy mayo

  • In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, sriracha, honey, sesame oil, and diced pickled jalapeno peppers.

Coat the Chicken and Fry

  • Set the oven to 250 degrees and set aside a baking sheet.
  • Dip the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then the egg wash, then cover in panko breadcrumbs.
  • Drop batches into the oil and fry for 4-5 minutes, remembering to flip once halfway throughout.
  • As you are frying in small batches, place finished chicken katsu on the baking sheet in the oven to stay warm.

Warm Up Your Baos

  • Heat up the frozen baos according to the instructions on the bag.

Assemble and Serve

  • Assemble the bao by putting the spicy katsu chicken on the bun, followed by spicy mayo, cabbage, peppers, green onions, and a drizzle of sriracha.


If you have a steamer and the ingredients, make your own baos.

Running around Seafood City as a kid, I knew I could rely on one thing… which was getting a siopao from the attached Chow King.

Not sure what siopao is?

Siopao is a steamed bun with a meat filling (LOVED AND STILL LOVE THE CHICKEN ASADO), similar to the Chinese steamed bun.

The bounce of the bun. So satisfying…

For the longest time, I only knew about steamed buns, the Filipino made ones and the Chinese ones with the fillings. That was before I came across a flat bao with the meat on top (I think the first place was in Liberty Station, San Diego). Think of a Siopao as a burrito, but an open flat bao with the toppings is a taco.

This was new to me, and I didn’t think much of it until right after I took that first bite. It was love at first bite. The spongy bouncy bun. The quality meat. And the fresh vegetables mixed with pickled vegetables. A defining moment in all my years of eating food.

After discovering the world of baos, I sought for the best ones I could buy while living in San Diego and Portland. I’ve had a few here and there that were solid, but since most places sell them for $5 each, I’ve always thought about making them at home. The idea of steaming my own baos without a steamer was the main obstacle.

But one day, walking around 99 Ranch, I found out you could buy them in the freezer aisle (I got the frozen gwa pao, taiwanese hamburger buns). Obstacle overcome… which inspired me to continue my somewhat weekly fried chicken obsession and combine it into the beloved bao.

And that folks, is how this recipe was put together. A boy, bouncy buns, and a dream.

If you make this recipe, I recommend taking the time to make a pickled cabbage. I didn’t include that since I haven’t gotten to that yet, but if I do, I’ll update this!

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