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Jo-Ann’s Bakeshop Siopao, GenSan’s Unofficial Comfort Food

I do not exactly remember the first time I ate Jo-Ann’s Bakeshop’s mini-siopao.

What I do remember however is that my Dad used to buy them by 10s or 20s depending on how many workers he has at that time in his tailoring shop.  I usually get to pick my share first because I was always tasked to buy them at their outlet along what was then Albert Morrow Boulevard (now Pedro Acharon, Sr. Boulevard).  Sometimes though, I couldn’t resist the urge to steal an extra piece while holding the big paper bag full of the steaming siopao in my lap on my way home on board a rickety tricycle.

Jo-Anns Bakeshop Restaurant and Fastfood Center, along P. Acharon, Sr. Boulevard

Jo-Ann’s Bakeshop, established by the Kho Family sometime in the 60s, used to sell mostly breads, and was a supplier to smaller stores of regular pinoy pastries and cookies like patatas, palu, ugoy-ugoy, sampalok, ring crackers, tostado, luningning, hopia and biscocho, among other bread varieties.  [quote1] Their creambread became so famous that it soon was a familiar staple at any home in the old Dadiangas especially during the Christmas season when people had to line up infront of their store just to be able to buy some.  The Jo-Ann Bakeshop creambread was the hottest yuletide food item for so many years among families in the city and nearby municipalities.

Then, they introduced the classy and yet affordable “chiffon cake” which also became an instant hit.  At that time, cakes were considered as snacks for the rich but Jo-Ann’s made it pang-masa thru their chiffon.

Nothing comes close however to achieving iconic status than their mini-siopao.

Siopao which means Hot or Steamed Bun in Chinese, have always been sized almost as big as a platter as served in the local Chinese restaurants here before (Calpin’s, Capitol’s, Talion’s, Satea, Matutum, etc.), so when Jo-Ann’s came out with their own smaller size, a lot of people were shocked.

Their shock did not last long however.

Athough as small as s regular-sized fist, there was nothing small however in the taste of Jo-Ann’s mini-siopao.  Its fillings which come in two variants, pork and chicken asado have got to be the tastiest, chewiest and meatiest in this part of the island.

The dough does not disappoint too.  Soft but not too fluffy, it had the right thickness that is not overpowering.

Many also swear by its thick siopao sauce, neatly packed in small ice-candy wrappers, which when poured into the fillings, makes it even more flavorful and sweeter.

And so from the 60s and up to the 90s until today, Jo-Ann’s Bakeshop’s mini-siopao‘s fame has continued and until now, is still top in the list of the general’s “comfort foods”.

But hey, there’s more.  Did you know that Jo’Ann’s mini-siopao has also evolved and now includes a bigger variety?

For those who can’t get enough of the small ones, comes Jo-Ann’s Big Siopao, conveniently packed in cellophane wrappers.

Jo-Anns Big Siopao and mini-siopaos continue to be GenSans unofficial Comfort Foods.

Yes, that’s the one up there in the picture beside its original small-sized brothers.  While the mini-siopao is priced at P16 (for pork pao) and P18 (for chicken pao), the big one comes at P26 (pork) and P28 (chicken). Both sizes however have still retained the same tasty quality that made it famous for over four decades now.

And so for those who want to bring home pasalubong from GenSan, remember not only to take value-added tuna products with you but also to include the Tuna Capital’s famous comfort food Jo-Ann’s Bakeshop siopaos, in original mini or the new big size.

Jo-Ann’s Bakeshop Restaurant and Fastfood Center, P. Acharon Boulevard, may be reached through these #s – 552-2312/3012022.  They also have a branch at the Casa Luisa Restaurant Building, along Jose Catolico Sr. Avenue, GenSan.

About Avel Manansala

Avel Manansala aka Bariles, is a native of a bustling city down south of Mindanao Island. He is a consultant on Blogging, Social Media, and Marketing . He is co-founder and head of the SoCCSkSarGen Bloggers and manager of Google Business Group (GBG)- General Santos. You may add him to your circles on G+ - If you need more info on any of these fields, please leave him a message.

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  1. lito says:

    oh yea. siopao !i love thier siopao…
    jo-anns cream bread was very popular noon.
    until now kumakain pa rin ako sa jo-anns sa may acharon blvd.
    .-= lito´s last blog ..queen tuna park… =-.

  2. Pastilan says:

    Haaayyy kalami, gigutom ko nagtanaw sa siopao, mao ba na tong tag P12.00 and isa?
    .-= Pastilan´s last blog ..Batman Arkham Asylum Walkthrough =-.

  3. fahdingding says:

    Wow! I like Pork Siopao… Oops! Chicken Siopao pala! LOL
    So that’s it.. Albert Morrow Blvd. pala ang whole name ng Boulevard noon…
    How they (the owners) related to Hayden KHO?… hahahaha…

  4. Jim says:

    I’d love to try their steamed pork buns.
    .-= Jim´s last blog ..Apple outs Logic Express 9 =-.

  5. dimple says:

    kuyawa bariles uy!.. am sure lifetime libre nah siya ug siopao from JO-ANNES after ani bah..

    yummy jud ang ilahang siopao.. wlang tatalo!…

    paSIOPAO ka naman jan..
    .-= dimple´s last blog ..CARING CAREERS LTD – THE COST… =-.

    1. bariles says:

      @Lito, very few lang siguro sa atin ang di nakatikim ng jo-ann’s siopao and cream bread. They’re really very popular here.
      @Pastilan, P16 na ang price ng pork pao. P18 naman ang chicken. The big ones cost P10 more.
      @fahdingding, so you like Chicken pao ha? Will ask the owners kung kaano-ano nila si Hayden Kho. Hehehe!
      @Jim, we will surely visit this place once you’re here next week for the Tuna Fest. Promise. 🙂
      @dimple, winner talga siopao nila. Dapat, magpasiopao ang may-ari sa mga commenters. Hehehhe!

  6. Lyle says:

    You did it again, Bariles! A well-written piece that evokes a myriad of good memories of my yesteryears.

    Yup, a memory of GenSan is never without Jo-Ann’s tasty creambread and yummy siopao. When I brought back a box of Jo-Ann’s siopao from one of my recent trips there.. My dad asked me if I remembered going there for our weekly Sunday lomi treat.

    He says that Jo-Ann’s was also the place to go for heartwarming treat of Lomi coupled with toasted bread.
    .-= Lyle´s last blog ..Let’s Get It On at Icons On Screen =-.

  7. BrAvO SiX says:

    i still remember this bakeshop… during the 70’s and 80’s dito kami bumibili ng chiffon cakes for noche buenas at party’s….

    it’s 20’s and yet joann bakeshop is still there…

    nice siopao sir..! samahan mo ng ice-cold soda drink..panalo!

  8. orman says:

    lamicious, nutricious, delicious! walang katulad!
    .-= orman´s last blog ..The Glory of Love =-.

  9. bariles says:

    @Lyle, thank you. You can take the “general” out of GenSan but you can never take
    “GenSan” from the heart of the “general”. It seems that everyone has a Jo-ann Bakeshop dish which has endeared the place to him. In your case, it’s LOMI. Have you tried their FRESH LUMPIA? Grabe rin!
    @Bravo Six, their chiffon still exists. And it still is soft and fluffy! P150 lang din. 🙂
    @Orman, bonggacious pa jud! And baratocious din! Hehehe! 🙂

  10. Myron says:

    Lami btaw na ilang siopao. Gagmay lang kaau. Tag isa lang nko ka lamon. Hehehe. Ang ilang bihon lami pud kaau.

  11. fahdingding says:

    Hmmmm! Im eating now! 2 BIG Chicken Pao! Ah Sarap!

  12. jinky says:

    yeah, sarap nga ng Jo-Ann’s siopao… I still remember during my younger and sexier days – every time may pumunta ng downtown from the resort – ang laging bilin namin was “bili ng jo-anns ha” understood na yun na dapat pag-uwi may bitbit na cream bread tsaka siopao. . . tops din para sa kin halo halo nila. . .
    .-= jinky´s last blog ..Tuna Sale at RDEX Seafoods Shop =-.

  13. joeygerona says:

    oh i love jo-anns siopao and palabok…that is my standard food everytime i go to gensan…missed it so much for 7 yrs now…you made me hungry here in toronto…lami gyud ilang siopao peks man!

  14. none_air says:

    Now! i agree na lamian jud ang siopao sa Jo-Anns Bakeshoppe. When i was in my elementary days i cannot sleep with chiffon cake and cookies..Basta Jo-Anns Lamian jud…..

  15. orman says:

    allow me to rain on everybody’s parade… masarap din ang super big siopao ng BAYFRONT no! hahahahahaha!
    .-= orman´s last blog ..Getting There =-.

  16. gensanite says:

    lami gyud ang siopao sa jo-ann’s… lami pud ang siopao sa bayfront… the 2 best siopaos in the universe… 🙂

  17. ayay kahinumdom ko sa high school ko sa nddgd ug college sa nddc… ang siopao dayon sa jo-ann’s.. nalang, kalami.. ang tastee, bisag walay palaman ok na. syempre ang tuna di jud ko pul an ug kaon inig uli nako diha. gimingaw ko da.. thanks bariles, for the updates. keep them coming. cheers!

  18. BrAvO SiX says:

    what if kung pagsamahin kaya kainin ang siopao ng Jo-anns at lomi ng Ceballos + an ice-cold 12oz Coca-cola? perfect ba?

    T.L. —- tulo laway na..!

  19. Slaz says:

    Jo-ann’s siopao is still delicious until this time. If I may recall, years back, I was falling in line outside Jo-ann’s bakeshoppe just to pick up the order of my aunt – the loaves of cream bread for our noche buena. Panington gyud ko ug pila……grabe kasikat kaayo ur kalami sa ilang cream bread before. But now there are many bakers/bake shops in the city that bake much more delicious cream bread than Jo-ann’s. Yes, their siopao is still masarap, but there was one small store at RD Plaza before na nagtitinda ng mas masarap na siopao – yung Aunt Ludi. Mas masarap sya but the small place beside RD Pawnshop was gone. Panawagan sa may-ari ng Aunt Ludi—-bumalik kayo! Gensan needs that siopao! Thanks Bariles for posting such nice updates here.

  20. orman says:

    @siaz — here’s a message from JOSEPH CHUAKAO owner of AUNT LUDI’S:

    Thanks a lot Orman for sharing the good news.

    To the one that posted the comment – Daghang salamat. Actually our siopa is sitll being sold at Caltex Lagao and Caltex Hiway (near NDDU) and at Pritong Manok – Gaisano Food Court. Likewise it is still being served in some function at East Asia Royale HOtel. Please tell your friends to continue patronizing our home-baked quality products aside from cream bread and siopao on our soon to open outlets at Robinson Mall and Lim building at Purok Malakas. Gen. Santos City will soon be able to have the real healthy bread such as multi cereal, rye, foccacia and ciabatta minus the sugar and salt. Also, to watch out for our specialty cakes, pastas, pizzas and set meals.

    Once again, thanks a lot.

    Aunt Ludi Bakeshoppe

  21. steven says:

    Lami na noon kaayo mouli NAGMAHAY ko nganong giablihan pa nako ning site nga ni,homesick noon ko samot bah! i miss Jo-Anns SIOPAO grabe gyud, apilan pa ug PALABOK tpos FRESH LUMPIA tpos bugnaw nga COKE ahhhh,solve kaayo.

  22. Lainy says:

    Paborito ko talaga to! One mini-siopao is not enough. I always order two or three! Sus! Kalami!
    .-= Lainy´s last blog ..Wednesday’s What It’s All About (You Gotta Know): Thank You! =-.

  23. orman says:

    gosh bigla akong ginutom !
    .-= orman´s last blog ..2009 Miss Gensan Winners Crowned =-.

  24. EMPOY says:


  25. […] there is one comfort food for Bariles aside from Joan’s Bakeshop’s SIOPAO, then this is it!  So imagine how he felt when driving near the Satellite Wet Market of Purok […]

  26. […] 1 times Just when you thought that Jo-Ann’s Bakeshop was good only for its siopao, loaf breads, and the usual merienda fare, here it comes with a new item which sure stands as as […]

  27. Gineses says:

    Indeed, the bun is considerably delicious. Hope the resto will improve thier cleanliness especially sa ilahang toilets. Makawala ug gana sa pagkaon.
    To be fair with Jo-Anns, dili lang sa ilaha but sa tanang Food Industry sa Gensan. This is to make and keep our City competitive in this area.

  28. boyet aquino says:

    Joan’s bake shop… I remember that vividly, they are my biggest customer for my Primex and Sunshine when I was still with P&G.making Gensan one of the most important are for the company.

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