Malaysian Food · December 18, 2021

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Seremban Siew Bao: The Delicious Mini Meat Pies from Negeri Sembilan

Seremban Siew Bao: The Delicious Mini Meat Pies from Negeri Sembilan

Seremban Siew Bao (芙蓉烧包) is a Malaysian pastry that hails from Seremban, the capital of Negeri Sembilan, and is akin to a mini meat pie. Picture a steamed bun, but with a twist. Instead of the usual soft and fluffy exterior, this baked Siew Bao boasts a glossy and flaky crust that is simply irresistible. With its buttery and crunchy texture, each bite introduces a burst of fragrant flavours, leading you to the succulent and sweet char siew pork filling nestled inside.

Mastering the art of creating the perfect Siew Bao is no easy feat. Achieving the delicate balance between the flaky outer layer and the juicy filling requires skill and practice. Even seasoned bakers often find themselves making two or three attempts before achieving perfection.

Siew Bao is a relatively recent invention in the Malaysian food scene. Its story begins in Seremban during the 1970s when a lady decided to experiment with her bao recipe. Instead of steaming them, she decided to bake them, resulting in golden buns that quickly gained popularity within the community. Eventually, these delectable treats made their way to the family shop, where they became a local sensation.

Through word-of-mouth, the fame of this unique Seremban baked pastry spread far and wide. When the lady’s son took over the family business, he expanded its reach beyond the state. To honour its roots, he renamed the delicacy “Seremban Siew Bao,” with “siew” meaning “bake” in Cantonese, while paying homage to the bao’s place of origin.

Given that Malaysia has a predominantly Muslim population, many Siew Bao makers have created alternatives to cater to the dietary preferences of Muslims in the country. Some opt for chicken filling instead of pork, ensuring that everyone can enjoy this mouthwatering treat. In fact, some non-Muslims even prefer the chicken version for its unique flavours.

For those who embrace a meatless lifestyle, fear not! There is a vegetarian version of Siew Bao available. These delightful pastries are filled with a mix of tofu, mushrooms, peas, cabbage, and carrots, creating a vegetable medley that’s both flavourful and nutritious. The texture of the mushrooms closely resembles that of meat, offering a satisfying bite. With the abundance of vegetables inside, the vegetarian variation of Siew Bao is a healthier alternative to the traditional version.

Today, you can find Seremban Siew Bao in numerous shops throughout the city. Whether it’s street-side stalls or corner lots, Seremban is dotted with places where you can enjoy in this wonderful treat. It has also gained popularity among tourists, who often purchase these pastries as souvenirs. Not limited to Seremban alone, you can even find Seremban Siew Bao in other states, making it accessible to foodies across the country.