What’s the Difference Mandu vs Bao?

Korean dumplings, or mandu, have a stuffing of ground pork and onions in a dough that can be either steamed or fried. They are eaten as a snack with a dipping sauce.

Bao is a Chinese bun that can be filled with meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu, or even fruit. The buns come in various shapes and sizes and are most often steamed.

South Korea is home to both types of the dish, with the mandu originating from North Korea and the bao from China. Today we’ll focus on comparing these two popular dishes: what they are, how they’re made, and where you can find them!

What are mandu?

Mandu are traditional Korean dumplings filled with various fillings. They are similar to the Chinese bao, but smaller and with a different shape.

The most popular filling is ground pork mixed with chopped onions. Mandu can be eaten as a snack or as an appetizer, with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce or vinegar.

What are bao?

Similar to a dumpling, bao is a Chinese bun that can be filled with many different types of ingredients. Most often they are steamed, but they can also be fried. The bao is much larger than the mandu and usually has a softer texture.

Where can you find mandu and bao?

Mandu can typically be found as a street food or as an appetizer at a Korean restaurant. In South Korea, you will find these dumplings on the streets of Seoul and Busan. They are usually steamed, although they can also be fried if desired.

In China, bao can be found in many shapes and sizes but most often come in the form of white bread-like dough that is boiled and then filled with meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu or fruit. You can find bao served as either a main dish or an appetizer at many Chinese restaurants.

The mandu is usually stuffed with ground pork and onions while the bao can contain any type of filling you want! The difference between them really comes down to their size and the stuffing inside.

Mandu are small dumplings that are eaten like an appetizer whereas bao are larger (usually about three inches in diameter) steamed breads which are often eaten as a meal by themselves!

Differences between mandu and bao

While both dishes are filled with delicious fillings, the main difference is that mandu is made from a dough that can either be steamed or fried. Bao is made of a soft dough that is most often steamed.

Mandu is usually eaten as a snack with a dipping sauce, while bao can be eaten as part of a meal or on its own.

Mandu are stuffed with ground pork and onions, while bao can be stuffed with meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu, or even fruit! Mandu are served in pairs at every meal in North Korea. They are also served for breakfast in South Korea.

You can find mandu all over South Korea but you will have to look specifically for bao in China.


Mandu and bao are two delicious dishes that can be found in Korea, China, and Vietnam depending on the region. Mandu is usually served with soup, whereas bao is typically eaten on its own. The main difference between them is the shape of the dough. Bao is more like a ball whereas mandu is more like a bowl.