The Year of the Monkey Bowl Demands Monkey Bread Pork Buns

© Morgan Goldberg

By F&W Editors Posted February 04, 2016

This year, Super Bowl and Chinese New Year celebrations fall on the same Sunday. That means you have to choose between nachos and dumplings, right? Wrong. You should combine these two venerable food traditions, as chef Anita Lo of NYC’s Annisa demonstrated in our new test kitchen. She showed us all how to make the ultimate Super Bowl–Chinese New Year hybrid snack: Monkey Bread Pork Buns.

Lo’s pull-apart loaf of stuffable buns is fluffy, tangy and a little sweet. This Sunday, she’ll be serving it along with crispy-skinned roast pork belly, fresh scallions, hoisin-bean paste sauce and spicy, quick-cured chile-raisins as a special at her restaurant. Here's a gif-by-gif summary of her demo (which we broadcasted live on F&W’s Periscope account).

The first step to monkey bread greatness is making little balls of dough, which Lo tosses with a sweet-but-not-too-sweet mix of flour, Chinese five-spice powder and sugar.

Food & Wine: Anita Lo's Monkey Bread Pork Buns

She presses the balls flat, then folds them to make buns and layers them into a Bundt pan. The loaf sits out, covered, to proof for about an hour, before being baked.

Food & Wine: Anita Lo's Monkey Bread Pork Buns

For the pork, Lo sprinkles the inside of the belly with salt, pepper and a five-spice mix.

Related: 10 Favorite Chinese Recipes

Food & Wine: Anita Lo's Monkey Bread Pork Buns

Then, she rolls the belly up and ties it tight. After letting the pork sit in a fridge over night (for extra-crispy skin), Lo roasts the belly in a roasting pan with a little bit of water at 300 degrees for about three hours. Then, she cranks up the heat until the skin is blistering and crisp.

Food & Wine: Anita Lo's Monkey Bread Pork Buns

Check out that crunchy, crackly skin.

Food & Wine: Anita Lo's Monkey Bread Pork Buns

To make the buns, Lo pulls one off the loaf of monkey bread, pries it open, and stuffs it with the spicy raisins, hoisin sauce, green onions and a slice of pork.

Food & Wine: Anita Lo's Monkey Bread Pork Buns

Juicy, fatty, spicy and crunchy, the pork-stuffed bun was the ultimate afternoon snack and the perfect food for a Super Year of the Monkey Bowl.

Food & Wine: Anita Lo's Monkey Bread Pork Buns
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