Gua Bao w/ Crispy Taiwanese Chicken

Have you tried this famous Taiwanese street-food snack yet?

Have you tried this famous Taiwanese street-food snack yet?

This Taiwanese street food is so popular and I had my share when I was in London visiting Bao in Soho. I had the best food there and can definitely recommend this place to you if you’re going to visit the UK soon. The food is well flavoured and packed with Asian spices and so is this recipe that I’m bringing to you!

Though I’m using store-bought bao buns (which you just pop in the microwave), the filling: spiced chicken thighs with a crunchy tapioca layer and a final sprinkle of five spice and Szechuan pepper makes the difference. I mean sure you can invest some time in making these buns from scratch, but I have no problem in making life a bit easier by buying them. Besides frying these chicken thighs will take up some time too!

Soooo crispy!

Soooo crispy!

So for this recipe am using chicken thighs because the brown meat is so delicious when paired with these buns and the spices. Though, I haven’t tried chicken breasts or other meats I’m sure you can explore those too.

Below you’ll find three recipes. One for the marinade, one for the spice mix and one for the sauce. I’ve adapted the recipe for the Taiwanese chicken from Daily Cooking Quest they use their recipe for a Taiwanese snack: Chicken Popcorn, which is also very delicious. I’ve tweaked the ingredients a bit because I always like more spices and garlic in my food, but this recipe is the closest to the Taiwanese Chicken Popcorn that’s I’ve tried at restaurants!

Give them a go an be wowed by this amazing street-food snack!

Give them a go an be wowed by this amazing street-food snack!

I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe too and if you’re on the roll with these Gua Bao then you must try these Hoisin Pulled Chicken w/ Bao Buns too! It’s my most searched recipe on my website ;-)

Gua Bao w/ Crispy Taiwanese Chicken

  • Prep: 30 min
  • Total: 90 min

  • Meat


NOTE: I made 10 stuffed Gua Bao's with this recipe. Double the quantity for more portions.

- ½ kilogram of chicken thigh meat (washed with vinegar, cut in half)
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ½  tsp five spice powder
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 4 smashed garlic cloves
- 1 ½ cup tapioca starch
- 3 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs (beaten)

- store-bought Gua Bao (I got mine from Amazing Oriental)
- lettuce leaves
- oil for frying
- a deep (non-stick) pan

For the spice mix:
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- ½ tbsp chili powder (use less if you like it less spicy)
- ½ tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp chicken stock granules (I buy an msg free can at Amazing Oriental)
- ½ tsp five spice powder
- ½ tsp of sugar (I’ve used cane sugar)
- ¼ tsp Sichuan peppercorn (toasted)

For the Shriracha mayo 
- 4 tbsp Hellmann’s mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Sriracha (start with 1 tsp if you haven’t tried Sriracha yet)

Don't like Sriracha? Add sweet chili sauce to your mayo or ketchup!


  1. Wash your chicken with a 3 tbsp vinegar and water. Dry it off with some kitchen towel paper and place your chicken thighs in a bowl. Then add the soy sauce, smashed garlic cloves, 1 tsp of garlic powder, ½ tsp five spice powder, 1 tbsp black pepper and let this marinade for 30 minutes.

    NOTE: I always like to remove some of the fat in the chicken thighs, especially when I’ll fry it. This is optional, but it’s just something I like to do.

  2. After 30 minutes prepare your work station: put your Tapioca flour into a paper or Ziplock bag and whisk your eggs. Season the Tapioca flour by adding 1 tbsp black pepper, 2 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp of salt and mix well.

  3. Then dip your chicken into the egg and place the pieces one by one into the bag with the seasoned Tapioca flour. Once all the chicken is coated then place it on an oven rack and let the chicken “dry” for 30 minutes. Add the leftover thick crumbs on top off the chicken (these will make it extra crunchy).

  4. After 30 minutes, heat up a pan with oil and fry the pieces of chicken on a medium heat. Don’t place more that 4 pieces in a pan and fry until golden brown and until the chicken is cooked. This took me about 15-20 minutes for 4 pieces. I checked the chicken by cutting it in the thickest part to see if it’s cooked. If not, then throw back in the oil and give it another minute or 2.

  5. Let the chicken sit on some kitchen towel paper and season it with the spice mix. While the chicken is cooling down a bit, pop the Gua Bao in the microwave to let it steam. When they are done, smear a layer of Sriracho mayo on the bottom of the bun. Add the lettuce, place a crispy chicken bit on it, then add more Sriracho mayo and finish with a few slices of cucumber and enjoy!

    - Make a cool snack and turn this chicken into the famous Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken by cutting the thighs into chicken cubes.
    - Don’t like soft Gua Bao’s? Don’t worry these crispy bits are also delicious with buns, on a baguette, in a wrap or over (sticky) rice!

    If you make my recipes please tag me in them and use #thespicedchickpearecipes. I'd love to see what you've made!