Niku-man(Buta-man, Chu-ka-man)

Niku-man is a soft meat bun made by kneading and fermenting wheat flour, wrapping ingredients such as pork and vegetables, and steaming it. Sometimes called Buta-man or Chu-ka-man. “Man” is an abbreviation for steamed bun, and “Chu-ka” means Chinese. From autumn to winter, we often eat it as a meal or snack. During this time, we can buy freshly cooked hot meat buns at convenience stores.

What is Niku-man and is it okay for me to eat it?

Materials of Niku-man

Wheat flour, pork, onions, bamboo shoots, soy sauce, sugar, salt, bread crumbs, seasonings, etc.

The main materials are shown. It also depends on the product.

Gluten-free Low-gluten Wheat-free Low FODMAPs High FODMAPs
with Beef with Pork with Daily with Egg for Vegetarian
Restaurant Fast food Food supermarket Convenience store Drug store

Niku-man (meat bun), spread as a simple meal

The origin of the Niku-man is a steamed bun containing an ingredient called Baozi from China. It was introduced from China 100 years ago and is now made in Japan. The ingredients have been changed to suit the taste of Japanese people.

Originally, Niku-man was mainly sold at meat bun specialty stores and Chinese restaurants, but about 40 years ago, it began to be sold at convenience stores and spread all at once. Nowadays, it has become a standard product at convenience stores and can also be bought at food supermarkets.

The products sold differ depending on the stores. Specialty stores and Chinese restaurants make meat buns on the spot, and we can buy fresh meat buns. The cooking space is covered with glass, and there are many shops where we can see how they are making.
At convenience stores, factory-made products are sold by heating them in a steamer. We can get warm meat buns, which is convenient when we buy and eat immediately.

At food supermarkets, factory-made products are sold in bags containing 2 to 5 at room temperature. It’s usually sold in the bread section. Instead of eating it as it is, warm it in a microwave for several tens of seconds before eating.

Meat buns have flavored ingredients, so we can eat them as they are, but many people eat them with mustard and soy sauce.

Try to eat Niku-man!

How much?


Where can I eat it?

  • Specialty stores and Chinese restaurants
  • Convenience stores
  • Food supermarkets

For people with dietary restrictions

Gluten is included

Wheat flour is the raw material for the skin of Niku-man. Contains a lot of gluten.

High FODMAP food

It is a high-FODMAP food because it uses wheat flour for the skin and onions for the ingredients.

For Muslims

Pork is usually used in Niku-man, so please do not eat it.

Japanese writer’s comment for Niku-man

The ingredients for meat buns are pork and finely chopped vegetables, but there are also products that use other ingredients. Here are some of the most popular ones.

An-man (Sweet bean paste bun)

Contains sweet bean paste made by boiling red beans with sugar. There are some that use red bean paste with azuki bean grains left and some that use red bean paste with no azuki bean grains left. An-man is a popular product that you can find at any convenience store.
No pork is used, but lard is often used, so be careful if you are a Muslim.

Curry man (Curry flavored bun)

Contains curry-flavored ingredients. The skin is also yellow, so you can easily tell it apart. The materials of the ingredients are almost the same as the meat bun, but the ingredients are curry-flavored.

Pizza man (Pizza flavored bun)

The ingredients include tomatoes, cheese, and sausages, and they are seasoned like pizza. I don’t know if the Italian tastes like pizza when eaten, but the Japanese believe this taste is a pizza. If the meat bun is Chinese style, the pizza flavored bun is a Western style bun.