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Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns

Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns (Bolo Bao)


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Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns

These Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns are fluffy and lightly sweetened. They are topped with a buttery crust and make for a perfect breakfast along with tea or coffee.

Surprisingly, growing up, my mom did not bake often. She was more of a cook and whenever she baked, it was mostly from cake or cookie boxes because she did not know how to make American food. Many Chinese and Vietnamese desserts she liked did not require baking so she did not use the oven for baking often. However, we do love visiting the Chinese bakeries in Boston Chinatown weekly for fresh pineapple buns or custard tarts. They were my family’s favorite Chinese baked goods.

Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns

Contrary to its name, Chinese Pineapple Buns actually do not have any pineapples to them. They are named after their appearance resembling the patterns of a pineapple. So the next time you visit a Chinese bakery and see pineapple buns, do not think there are pineapples in them. Occasionally with more modern flavors, some bakeries might have some sort of fillings to them like custard, but the original ones do not.

Growing up, my dad was the sole financial supporter of our family. My mom preferred to stay at home to take care of us and ensure we won’t get into trouble. My dad worked at various restaurants in Boston as a chef. Every morning before he heads to work, my mom would prepare a mug of Iced Vietnamese Coffee for him and along with some sort of bread, oftentimes, pineapple buns, or milk bread. I remember asking my mom why she didn’t make pineapple buns instead at home to save money, but she didn’t know how to.

Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns
Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns

So when I was in middle school, after discovering finally how to work the oven we had at home, I made my first batch of Pineapple Buns after researching countless recipes and key ingredients, in hopes that they would taste good enough that my dad can bring them with him before he heads to work in the morning. I remember spending the entire day in the kitchen measuring the flour repeatedly and waiting for the dough to rise. At the end, when the kitchen timer came off, I couldn’t be more excited. They smelled exactly the same as the pineapple buns we get. However, they were a bit smaller and a tiny bit denser.

My mom was so surprised that I was able to make them and was really happy with them even though I was a little bit down that they were not as fluffy as I thought they would be. My mom heated them the next day for my dad to bring to work and even though they did not look the same as his usual ones, he brought them to work every day that week until they were gone. My dad is not huge in expressing his feelings, but I know that he appreciated them.

Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns
Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns

Since then, I made them a few other times for him to bring to work until I went to college. Now that I am vegan, I made a vegan version of these Chinese Pineapple Buns, in remembrance of the buns I made for my dad.

Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns
Vegan Chinese Pineapple Buns

If you are excited to make these Pineapple Buns, here are the ingredients you will need:
-organic all-purpose flour
-coconut oil
-organic cane sugar
-active dry yeast
-unsalted, vegan butter
-unsweetened, plant-based milk of choice
-coconut milk powder
-turmeric powder
-pure vanilla extract
-baking powder

Ready to make these buns? Let’s start baking!

Chinese Pineapple Bun

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