Crispy Shrimp Bao Bun

The first time I tried this shrimp katsu bao bun was in a Japanese ramen shop in Astoria, Queens. The flavor profile reminded me of fish & chips with tartar sauce or McDonald’s filet-o-fish! So, I created this with that in mind and the result was better than I expected.

The crispy panko crusted butterflied shrimp makes this an extra indulgent bao and while the tartar sauce is rich and tangy, it helps cut through the grease quite well. Any garnish or greens would work in the filling but I opted for red leaf lettuce and cilantro!

Fresh homemade bao buns are superior than the pre-made store-bought ones so I highly recommend making them yourself! Check out my Steamed Bao Bun recipe here. They store extremely well in the freezer so you can make a big batch ahead of time and enjoy them whenever you want.

5 from 2 votes

Shrimp Bao Bun

Servings 4 baos
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins


  • 4 bao buns see note 1
  • 4 shrimp peeled + deveined
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 pieces of lettuce
  • pinch of flakey salt
  • cilantro for garnish
  • neutral oil for frying

Dry Dredge

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder

Egg Wash

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp water

Panko Breading

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup onion minced
  • 3 tbsp pickles minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika


  • In a bowl, combine all the tartar sauce ingredients. Mix together well and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Steam the bao buns (see note 1) and keep warm until ready to assemble
  • Butterfly the shrimp by slicing it down the middle on the underside without cutting all the way through. Lay them out on a papertowel and pat down dry. Next, season with salt and pepper.
  • For the dry dredge, combine flour, salt, black pepper, and chili powder in a bowl or shallow plate.
  • In another bowl, crack the eggs and whisk together with water.
  • For the panko breading, combine panko, salt, black pepper and chili powder. Mix thoroughly until well combined.
  • In a deep pot, pour neutral oil about half way up. Heat to 375F/190C.
  • Coat the shrimp in the dry dredge then into the egg wash.
  • Place the shrimp into the dry dredge, making sure to coat well on both sides. Dip the shrimp into the egg wash. Next, transfer to the panko breading. Press the breadcrumbs into the shrimp to help it adhere better.
  • Fry for 1 minute or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle a pinch of flakey salt on top while still hot.
  • To assemble, open up the bao bun and layer it with lettuce, fried shrimp, a big spoonful of tartar sauce, and cilantro for garnish.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  1. If using store-bought bao buns, steam by following the package instructions. If making bao buns from scratch, check out my Steamed Bao Bun recipe
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Fusion

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  1. 5 stars
    Wow just incredible! I thought these would be hard but the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Thank you for a delicious recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      Hi Bonnie! Thank you so much for sharing your feedback 🙂 So very glad that these turned out delicious!

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