Five-Spice Fried Tofu Bao With Avocado and Kimchi Mayo

Close up of 5 Spice Fried Tofu Bao with Avocado, Pickled Red Onion + Kimchi-Mayo

Grilled Cheese Social

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 3 servings

This crispy five-spice fried tofu nuggets layered with spicy kimchi mayo, creamy avocado, and crisp, pickled red onions are nestled between two halves of a pillowy steamed bun, otherwise known as bao, is to die for. If you don't have five spice on hand, make it yourself by combining ground cinnamon with ground cloves, ground toasted fennel seeds, ground star anise, and ground toasted Szechuan peppercorns. 

Oh, and FYI, we've written this recipe as if you've got frozen steamed buns on hand. However, if you want to make them yourself, check out our recipes for making steamed bao.


  • 3 steamed buns
  • 3 slices tofu (extra firm, dried and sliced into 1/2" squares)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp five spice blend
  • 1 tbsp mayo
  • 1/2 tbsp kimchi paste (Mama O's if you need to source it)
  • 1/2 avocado (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp pickled red onions

Steps to Make It

  1.  Begin by frying the tofu. After it's been pressed and most of the liquid has been drawn out, toss the tofu in cornstarch, five-spice seasoning, and salt.

  2. Heat your oil to about 370 F and add in your tofu, one piece at a time.

  3. Let the tofu fry until it's crispy and browned. Remove from heat, place on a paper towel and add a sprinkle of salt over the top and set aside. 

  4. Mix mayo with kimchi paste and set aside.

  5. Prepare steamed buns accordingly and gently open. Smear the kimchi mayo evenly between the three steamed buns and then evenly distribute the five spice fried tofu, the pickled red onion, and the avocado slices. 

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