Spicy Tofu Buns

Ever since we visited San Street, an Asian street food truck in Ann Arbor, MI, Matt and I have been wanting to recreate their spicy tofu buns. It was an actually very simple combination of fried tofu, scallions, and cucumber. The key was the sauce on the tofu, which was a Korean fermented chili paste called gochujaug. It’s incredibly spicy, and a little funky tasting…in a good way, of course.

I wasn’t sure if we’d actually get around to making these at home, though. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with making the buns.

Well, good news…you can buy them frozen. We found the tip on one of Kenji’s Serious Eats recipes and went to Super 88 to stock up on several packs.

Spicy Tofu Buns

The gochujaug was just as easy to buy. I had always seen rows and rows of these red and green tubs at my local Asian market, and never thought to see what they were. The big red tub, it turns out, is the gochujaug.

What I thought would be a complicated dinner to put together turned out to take five minutes to make.


Instead of deep frying the tofu (which, I know, would have been delicious), we pan-fried. When the tofu was golden brown on both sides, we put a bunch of the gochujaug in the skillet with a little soy sauce to thin it out. The key is to coat the tofu liberally with the sauce.

Spicy Tofu Buns

After stuffing the tofu in the buns, we added a good amount of sliced scallion and cucumber to each. It went perfectly with the easy stir-fried bok choy I wrote about a few days ago.

I love meals that are this quick and easy to get on the table because I’ve suddenly found myself with zero free time. I just started a 7-week chemistry class that covers a year’s worth of general chemistry. Let’s just say I have my work cut out for me!

(Off to do more practice problems…)

Spicy Tofu Buns with Scallions and Cucumber

Spicy Tofu Buns with Scallions and Cucumber

Inspired by Spicy Tofu Buns at San Street


  • Chinese folded steamed buns
  • Oil, for pan-frying
  • Firm or extra firm tofu, pat dry
  • Gochujaug paste
  • Soy Sauce
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Scallions, thinly sliced


  • Allow buns to thaw to room temperature.
  • When the buns are thawed, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high. Add the tofu and cook until golden on each side.
  • Add some gochujaug to the skillet to taste, and thin out with a little soy sauce (we probably used a 3:1 ratio).
  • Place the thawed buns on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a double layer of damp paper towels. Microwave on high until hot, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Stuff the buns with the tofu and sauce, and top with the cucumber and scallion slices.


This is more of a method than an exact recipe. Adjust the amount of sauce and toppings to taste.


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  • http://www.birdandseed.net/ Constance Martin

    Thanks for the bun tip- I’ve been wondering where to find such fluffy poufs of bready goodness

  • http://www.quarterlifecrisiscuisine.com/ Ashley Bee

    Ohh goodness, these look so good! I’d love to make a banh mi version, or something with meat since tofu and I are not friends. Good to know I can pick up the buns at a local Asian market! I’ve never had them, they look rather doughy…

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

      The buns are actually surprisingly light and fluffy! You should definitely give them a try!

  • Shannon G

    good tip on buying these frozen– they look amazing 🙂

  • http://theeconomicaleater.blogspot.com/ MichellePC

    Ohhh, so good to know this was easy to put together! Looks amazing.

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    I’m literally salivating. Those buns are pretty much my favorite things EVER. Need to head on over to Koreatown or Chinatown and pick some up!

    EEK seven weeks of chemistry. Definitely don’t miss that. good luck!!

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen


  • http://www.acambridgestory.com Emily

    Your photos are insanely good these days! Yum!

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen


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