07 January 2014

Hong Kong Po Lo Bun 港式菠萝包 - AFF HK/Macau Jan/Feb 2014

As we enter 2014, Asian Food Fest (AFF) has moved on to Hong Kong/Macau cuisine!

Weirdly enough, I've been to Japan more than Hong Kong or Macau even though both are closer to Singapore? And in terms of cuisine, it's familiar yet when seriously naming specific dishes/food, my mind can only think of roast meats, dim sum, wonton noodles, egg tarts, nutritious soups and 餐蛋治 (Luncheon meat and fried egg sandwich) :p. I guess because we always have limited time in HK, so we tend to eat these few favourites. I've not even eaten traditional snacks like 'poot zai gou' 砵仔糕, and the supposedly must-eat Macau Pork Chop Bun!! Shame on me :p

For my first submission, I attempted the Pineapple (Po Lo) Bun, a popular bread/snack in Hong Kong. The bun gets its name coz it resembles a pineapple but in actual fact, no pineapple anywhere in the bun. The top part is a pastry dough whereas bottom part bread dough. So after baking, you get two different textures, a crispy cookie-like crust top and a soft and fluffy bread bottom.

I first noticed this bread at Crystal Jade Bakery, which comes in two forms, one plain and one with char siew filling. Subsequently I also noticed some dim sum restaurants selling this bun albeit more dainty and refined version, most often with char siew filling.

When I searched the internet for recipes, saw quite a number of people use Kitchen Corner's recipe (which is from another chinese website which provides step-by-step photo guide). I also have a recipe using the Tang Zhong method (65℃汤种面包 / [作者, 陈郁芬]). But I was feeling kind of lazy to do the Tang Zhong, so decided to try Kitchen Corner's recipe first.

Making the bread dough was really straightforward, throw all the ingredients in the mixer and let the dough hook knead the dough for 15 mins, thereafter proof for an hour.

The tricky part was the pastry dough. Barely half way through the mixing process, the dough was already a sticky mess. I wonder how did the original author managed to keep the dough so dry and smooth? I blame in on Singapore's hot and humid weather! There was no way I could shape the pastry dough like what the author did. In the end, I just divided the dough into four portions, placed each portion on cut-open freezer bags, roll them up and let them chill in the fridge until the bread dough was proofed.

Initially I thought the step of "stuffing the bread dough into pastry dough" was difficult, but surprisingly, the pastry dough really expanded gradually, allowing the bread dough to be tucked inside! So fun! Then I realised the final step of using sharp knife to create chequered pattern was not as easy as it seemed coz the pastry dough which has turned soft would stick to the knife. Gah, I just did my best and sent the buns into the oven.

I must say the bun tasted great hot from the oven! Very crispy and fluffy at the same time! It will turn hard after cool down though, just pop into the oven for a few minutes and it will regain its crisp and fluff.

But that said, I'm not really happy with the result, coz I thought the bun looked so rough (粗鲁), I prefer those dainty and refine looking ones sold at dim sum restaurants. I guess I must look harder for that recipe. If I have time, I may also try the tang zhong method recipe to see if the result is better

Hong Kong Pineapple (Po Lo) Bun (recipe makes 4 large buns)
(recipe from Kitchen Corner and http://www.xici.net/d74490906.htm)

Bread dough
  • 150g bread flour
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 tbsp beaten egg
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 70g water
  • 15g butter
Pastry dough
  • 30g butter, cold
  • 25g icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp milk powder
  • 1 tbsp beaten egg
  • 50g plain flour
  1. Knead all the ingredients of the bread dough in electric mixer using dough hook for 15 mins. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl, cover with clingwrap and proof for one hour or till dough doubles in size.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the pastry dough. Beat the butter and icing sugar till well mixed. Gradually add salt and milk powder.
  3. Add beaten egg little by little, make sure each addition is well mixed before adding more.
  4. Gently fold in plain flour, using folding and cutting strokes to mix the dough. In Singapore's weather, the dough might turn very sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 portions. Place each portion on a cut-open freezer bag, roll each portion up (like candy) and place in fridge till bread dough is ready (this step takes about 15 mins, so there's about 45 mins for the pastry dough to chill).
  6. One hour later, prepare to combine both doughs. Take the pastry dough on the left hand, flatten it slightly. Take the bread dough on the right hand. Gently push the bread dough into the pastry dough, rotating the palm of the left hand as you push with the right hand. The pastry dough will actually expand slowly to accommodate the bread dough, till the pastry dough almost envelops the bread dough.
  7. Place the bread dough seal side down. Egg wash top of the pastry dough, use a sharp knife to draw chequered pattern on the surface.
  8. Let the dough proof for about 45 mins, and bake in preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 15 mins.
  9. Best eaten warm and fresh from oven.
 I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest ( Hong Kong + Macau ) – Jan+Feb Month hosted by Annie of Annielicious Food


  1. I remember this recipe from Kitchen Corner... I have seen this years ago. Nice that you have baked these buns so well :D


  2. Thanks Zoe :) It was so-so only, I still prefer it to be softer.