Manapua no ka'oi!

While living on Oahu, I learned to LOVE Manapua and still sometimes crave it. But finding it in the state of Georgia where I reside now would be something of a miracle, so I'll have to be happy just to write about it for the time being.

A few weeks back I had a serious craving for Manapua, and while I wasn't able to satisfy the craving, I did have a very exciting revelation; Manapua qualifies as a SANDWICH! Most definitely, without question, Manapua is indeed, a sandwich. So here it is.
Being Chinese in origin, Manapua can also be found at many Chinese restaurants, but it won't be named as such. The Chinese offer it up as a dim sum item called "char siu boa" (steamed pork buns). Manapua is the "local" Hawaiian version of char siu bao, and it's much bigger than dim sum.

The red-colored meat mixture inside is sweet/sour pork. The bun is made of white flour and steamed. In the old days, barefoot peddlers would sell them in tin cans. Later in mobile vans that frequented schools and bus stops. Mainland kids (myself included) grew up anticipating the ice cream man, while in Hawaii, kids remember “the manapua man,” who sold the steaming hot buns and other snacks from his truck.

So on your next trip to Hawaii, don't pass the Manapua stand because you're unsure about what the fluffy round things in the steamer are all about. Have them steamed, my favorite, or baked, either way, they're authentically Hawaiian, but really Chinese. Aloha


  1. Mmmm - I've never heard of this before! Its sounds delicious. I'll definately try this if I ever get the opportunity!
    Love your blog, following now :-)
    Cheers, Karen

  2. That looks like something I ate in China. I like the Hawaiian twist. I'd eat it.

  3. Looks like filipino sio pao! yummy!

  4. Ladies, you have made my day. Thanks for the comments. Wish we could all sit down and have a sandwich together!

  5. I love pork buns! I fell in love with those sandwiches while living in San Francisco. I lived between two amazing dim sum resturants. Bad for the diet, but oh so good to eat.

    OK, I love your blog but I clearly cannot come and visit when hungry. =)



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