CONTRIBUTED BY KATHRYN CALAGUI

One of the things that I love most about Okinawa is how convenient it is!

I am originally from New York City, and what I miss most about New York are the steamed buns from Chinatown. Growing up, I called them siopao (show-pow), which means steamed bun in Filipino. In Okinawa, a steamed bun is called chuuka manjuu. I asked around where I could find them here, but no one really gave me a clear answer. To my surprise, I found them at Lawson’s and in Family Mart. How convenient!! There’s one of those on almost every corner!

I love chuuka manjuu. It is one of my most favorite types of fast food.  And my son loves them, too!

Chuuka 1

But what exactly is in a chuuka manjuu? Well, inside the bun, there is roasted pork sauteed with onions, garlic, ginger, and I believe there’s some soy sauce in there, too. They have a variety of different buns with different fillings. If you are unsure what’s in it, just look at the picture beside it, so you can get a general idea. I’ve also tried one that was “pizza” filled and it was equally delicious. (The one thing to remember when eating a steamed bun is to remove the paper lining underneath first. I’ve seen too many people make this mistake, so I figured I’d tell you first.)

So, if you’re on the road and need a quick bite to eat, I highly suggest to making a stop at Lawson’s or Family Mart. You’ll usually find these little buns at the front counter right by the cash register.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Why has everyone told me they are called niku man? Niku means meat so yes, you have pizza man, etc. In Hawaii they are called a manapua. great snack on the go.

  2. Oh I love these too. I learned to make them from a Vietnamese friend’s mom, she called them “bahn bao” and they are oh so delicious. I will be stopping by Lawson’s this morning!

  3. Thanks Kathryn/Meredith for your contribution on the Chuua Manjuu. I’d like to respectfully add that the “shao bao” (which means little bun in Chinese) originated from China. These can also be filled vegetarian, as well as chicken, Chinese B.B.Q pork; in addition to the more popular and traditional pork, green onion, napa cabbage, and ginger filling. Be sure to keep your eyes on the lookout in some of the larger San A’s around, cause during the weekends and special upcoming holidays, you might find some of the vendors selling these fresh off the bamboo steamers; if you don’t stop by a Lawson’s first!

  4. They sell a similar item, if not the same, at most of our Mister Donuts. They are a great treat especially when dipped in a soy-sauce type sauce with spicy mustard!! Wish I had known they sold them in NY – will look for them next time we’re in the states!!!

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