My boyfriend used to live in Toronto and would stop by a tiny Asian bakery all the time to stuff himself with Chinese buns filled with pork, chicken, or veggies. They were about the size of a fist and light and doughy and SUPER cheap.
Does anyone happen to know anywhere I can get something comparable? Preferably in the Argyle/Andersonville area?
Are you asking about taking them home or a restaurant that serves them?
Furama on Broadway just south of Argyle has great dim sum including the steamed buns & Bao.
As for taking them home... Hmmm... Most of the pastry shops in the area are Thai and to be frank, not so great. You could try SunWah on Argyle right beneath the L tracks- they're closed on Thursdays. I'd go for take out from Furama or from Wing Hoe on Sheridan at Hollywood.
Aren't most of the pastry shops on Argyle and Broadway Vietnamese?
You can get steamed Chinese buns in that area (at the Chinese bakeries) as well as the Vietnamese versions of them (at the other bakeries).
While you're at it, you should try the banh mi at the Ba Le French Bakery at Argyle and Broadway. They're cheap and addicting, too.
It's not on the North side but right off the Red Line. My go-to place for buns is in Chinatown, in the mall at:
Saint Anna Bakery & Cafe
2158 S. Archer Ave.
In addition to the authentic ethnic sources suggested, you might be interested in Wow Bao, the little counter in the front lobby of Water Tower Place. Lettuce Entertain You has Americanized the steamed and filled Chinese buns giving them a bigger blob of filling and making the fillings more in line with American taste (eg Thai Curry Chicken Bao as opposed to Red Bean Paste Bao). Google Wow Bao for details. They're good.
Just to second this recommendation, my Mom makes the most amazing homemade steamed buns. However, 'Americanized' they may be, she absolutely loves Wow Bao and brings some back home with her whenever she comes to visit me in Chicago. When given a choice, I almost always go with the more authentic option, but Wow Bao is yummy.
We have purchased these buns from Super H Mart. The are frozen, but heat up in the microwave or steamer quickly. Super H Mart is a large Korean grocery mart in Niles, but I would bet that just about any Asian foodmart will carry them.