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Asian-style "soft" breads

27 posts in this topic

Quality is quality trillium--it either tastes good or it doesn't--and sure you'll find interesting cheaper things in asian snack shops and all sorts of Chowhound-approved dives but you didn't actually say Wow Bao wasn't delicious.  I've never been to Portland (that's pdx?) and it doesn't surprise me you like Sun Snack shop.  My point is Wow Bao brings accessibility and a fair price to something vastly underappreciated--who hasn't had kung pao chicken, but a steamed bun?--and yet tastes damn good despite that process of trying to appeal more overtly to a mainstream audience, which includes a drop-dead beautiful, gleaming, spotless, impeccably-designed kitchen and store front.  Hi-rent location plus design plus packaging costs more money.  But I think Bruce has also proved it doesn't have to taste any less delicious.  He's going to introduce many people to something they weren't even aware they wanted until he introduced it to them. And later, after being wowed by bao here, some yuppie you're looking down on just might be a little more willing to try that not-so-strange-anymore steamed bun with lap cheung at some out of the way snack shop as well--under the el, in pdx or in Shanghai.

And just like Starbucks has helped raise awareness of espresso, and helped create a better climate where artisinal roasters and small cafes who do a better job can also thrive--if Wow Bao were to hit it just might allow more people in pdx to appreciate that bun you like, and the owners of that shop to raise their prices ever so and send their kids to a better college or remodel.

I'm going to stay out of the whole "exportation of a particular thing from one culture into another purely for profit can be good for the original culture" question. I still haven't decided how I feel about Elvis, so I can't really move on to bao, as much as I think every stance is more interesting if there are equal and opposite polemicists contributing to the discussion. I can say how I felt about the bao. The bread part of the bun was perfectly acceptable. Some people hold that the best are ultra-white and super, super fluffy, and these don't fall into that catagory, which is fine with me, I like a little chewiness. I had the char siu (bbqed pork) and kung pao chicken fillings. I thought both fillings relied too much on a sweetish, cornstarch thickened sauce. The kung pao needed more of a roast chilli and vinegar flavor, it was too sweet and gloppy for its namesake, but it did have a nice ginger zing like good kung pao does. I like char siu fillings to be less saucy and have a more pronounced bbqed taste, but this one fell within the acceptable spectrum of styles. I thought both fillings tasted too similiar. On a positive note, it's very unlikely that you'd get a bao at Wow Bao that has gristley bits of meat in it as can happen when you're at a snack shop that isn't very good.

Would I call them delicious? It depends on how hungry I was. For quick and cheap on Michigan Ave, If I couldn't go to the Fontano's or Pizza Capri or other trucks outside of Northwestern, or have a bowl of soup at Heaven on Seven or a hotdog, or have the time to go further south to a cabbie joint, then yes, I might buy them again for a snack.



edit for spelling

Edited by trillium (log)

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No need to apologize; I hope I didn't sound rude. 

No worries! :rolleyes:

Since ya'll seem to be on the subject of paos...the focus seem to be on the filling, but I'm interested to know, how's the pao itself? A good pao should not "stick to the teeth".


Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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