Iconic Asian Breads You Can Actually Try to Make at Home

Jul 6, 2020 | China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Philippines, TASTE

Baked BBQ Pineapplebun with Pinenuts at Lung King Heen, Hong Kong ©City Foodsters

Are you a bread lover? If so, you need to explore more options other than your favorite sourdough and baguette. Asia offers a wide array of famous breads that are so good it will make you want to make it yourself. We scour some of the best tutorials so you can make them at home.

Asia boasts a long and rich history of producing amazing breads that will make your stomach growl. If you’re traveling in Asia soon or want to try baking new breads this quarantine, we’ve got you covered.  We can’t guarantee your results, but it sure looks fun to try!



Undoubtedly the most popular bread in Central, South, and West Asia, Naan is a type of flatbread that is traditionally made in tandoors, a special clay oven. This bread’s chewy texture makes it the perfect addition for Indian dishes like curry. 

Perhaps one of the reasons why this bread is so iconic is because of its history. This bread has been made since 1300 AD. There are tons of varieties of naan such as garlic naan topped with crushed garlic and butter, and kulcha which is stuffed with onions, potatoes, nuts, and other fillings. It is best served fresh from the oven and slightly charred. For extra decadence, brush some ghee or Indian clarified butter.

Pineapple bun

Hong Kong

Also called bo lo bao, pineapple buns is one of Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage. If you’ve never had this bun before, you may think it contains pineapple. However, its name is only derived from what its topping looks like after baking. 

This classic pastry is sweet and very soft, but what makes it special is its decadent golden crumbly top layer with a hint of crunch. Pineapple buns originated in Shanghai, but you can easily find it in Chinatowns all over the world.



This traditional Chinese breakfast is not baked unlike our other bread examples in this list. Instead, it’s deep-fried. This breadstick is very light and has an airy texture. Usually eaten with rice porridge, if you want to level up its chewiness, you can dip it in soy milk. 

Traditionally, people queue early at a street stand to get this warm breadsticks similar to how French people line up for their favorite croissants. If you want to try making this bread on your own, know that it’s quite time-consuming and you have to be extremely detail-oriented. However, your labor of love will be so worth it.

Pan de Sal


A breakfast and snack staple in the Philippines, Pan de Sal is a sweet and fluffy bread that people usually pair with margarine, cheese, or corned beef. Filipinos also love dipping it in their coffee or hot chocolate. This bread is mostly sold at the crack of dawn by street vendors or small bakeries. 

Throughout the country, you’ll find tons of variants of pan de sal. For example, a delicious and popular variety can be bought in Siargao, the surf capital of the Philippines. In this area, pan de sal is shaped like a surfboard and is called pan de surf. It’s made in a traditional oven with coconut husks and filled with luscious coconut meat.



Japanese milky bread or Shokupan is one of the most delightful breads you will ever have. It’s a must try when you visit Japan or a Japanese bakery. This light and fluffy bread is more moist than the ordinary crusty breads you are used to thanks to the Yudane method. 

Shokupan’s unique pillowy texture happens because the heated gelatinized starch from the flour holds moisture well. If you want to try your luck at making this bread, all you need is unsalted butter, salt, milk, bread flour, yeast, and sugar.

Bready or Not, Here I Crumb

There’s no such thing as bad bread in Asia. The more you explore different types of breads, the more you will understand how this food represents culture in its own unique way.