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Trust me, you want these.

I’ve been dreaming to make bao buns but with a Korean flair for a while. I originally planned to make these with bulgogi (KBBQ marinated steak) but had these two beautiful swordfish fillets I didn’t want to go to waste.

The swordfish seasoning (no need to marinate) is a deliciously spicy gochujang sauce. It really gave the swordfish a beautiful color and braising it a few times throughout the quick oven time gave it the perfect crisp on the skin.

Bao buns take a bit longer to prepare but most of the time is just allowing the dough to rise. The recipe from eatlittlebird has great instruction but I tweaked a few things as I didn’t want to use cornstarch and thought it seemed like too much oil.

Altogether, pairing the salty, hearty swordfish went so perfectly with the mildly sweet fluffiness of the bao buns! The Chinese meets Korean food strikes again! This dipping sauce is inspired by the Korean “crack” sauce used for gimbap. Top it off with cool, crunchy cucumber and green onion and you’re gonna want to make these again and again!


  • swordfish fillets

    There’s a reason it’s called “Crack Sauce”

  • cucumber
  • green onion
  • soy bean paste
  • soy sauce
  • gochujang
  • sesame oil
  • minced garlic
  • dijon mustard
  • chili oil (I used Dynasty brand)
  • honey


For the bao buns:

  • 2 cups plain or bleached flour
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder (this is a sub for cornstarch)
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar (super fine sugar)
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast (mixed with 3/4 cup warm H20) mix & let sit for 5 min
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Just under 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Follow the bao bun recipe and use my adaptations.

For the Swordfish:

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp soybean paste, 1 tbsp gochujang, 1/2 cup sesame oil, 1 clove minced garlic. Put fillets in an oven safe dish and pour sauce over fillets making sure to coat the bottom as well. Bake for 20-25 minutes and broil on low for an additional 5 minutes for that crisp!

For the dipping “Crack Sauce” :

Mix 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp chili oil & chunks of chili, 1 tbsp honey, salt to taste.

Once your swordfish has set, slice into 2×1″ portions that will fit inside each bun. I gently pried each bun open with a steak knife to open them slightly before assembling. Place swordfish portions inside the bun, top with julienned cucumbers and sliced green onion. I served the sauce on the side to dip but you can pour it over too.

These were so satisfying and fairly easy if you have the time to prep the buns ahead of time. If you haven’t had bao buns before, you must try them!!!

Top it with kimchi or just read about kimchi benefits, then decide.

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