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Steamed Pork Buns - Vancouver ChinaTown

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When I was in Vancouver in 2003 I went to Chinatown on a Friday night thinking they were having the weekend market ... imagine my surprise when I found out that they closed the market season early (it was supposed to run through September! - Talk about being disappointed)

Chinatown was dead. A few places were still open but the majority were closing down. As I walked back to a bus stop (having no idea when the bus was coming and feeling very uneasy about being there and not really knowing my way around) I passed a table with food stuffs and a lady selling pork buns. I had never had one before, but I really wanted to try it. She asked me if I wanted it warmed up and I said yes. She went inside to warm it up. She also tried to sell me a very large box of Moon Cakes when I expressed an interest in trying one. (There was a definite language barrier) - I did end up convincing her I only wanted two. (NOT the whole box of 24)

The bun was one of the most delicious delicacies I ever tasted. It was so good I can still taste it all these years later!! Unfortunately, I never made it back to Chinatown and I have never found another place to buy one.

I'll be back to Vancouver in August ... Since I have no idea where that pork bun came from, I need to know where to get one. That is all I can think about since I've decided to come back to Vancouver.

Lead me to the Steamed Pork Bun!!!

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  1. Was it steamed (white and fluffy, somewhere between the size of a tennis ball and a golf ball) or was it baked (golden brown and larger)?

    All dim sum places will sell the steam BBQ pork buns and any chinese bakery will sell the baked ones.

    2 Replies
    1. re: islandgirl

      I was going to be sarcastic - but trying to be funny while typing on a keyboard doesn't always translate well. :p

      I'm a True Chowhound - I know the difference between steamed and baked.

      Are the baked just as good as the steamed?

      I just assumed since this lady was selling them on the sidewalk that there would be other people doing the same ... Someone has to know of a good place.

      I am asking for a good recommendation. I am not familiar with Chinatown ... so if you could actually name the bakeries where good ones are sold, that would be extremely helpful.

      Thanks
      :-)

      1. re: rachelfromatlanta

        I find that the baked ones are usually a little sweet because of the glaze on the outside, and the bread may be more dense than the steamed buns. The pork filling inside is the same, however.

        I wouldn't worry about picking the best bakeries as most places are more or less the same when it comes to the buns (not from Vancouver so I can't name one off the top of my head, sorry). If all else fails, walk around a bit and choose the one that looks busy. And follow Florentine's advice about the streets too.

    2. Go to Chinatown in the morning and afternoon - that's when the shops are open. Don't stray to Hastings Street - stick to Pender, Keefer, and Georgia. There are some Chinese bakeries (I forget the name of them) but they all sell BBQ pork buns and steamed pork buns. They're addictive!

      1. Rachel,

        The steamed buns you're looking for are called: cha-siu-bao.

        1. look for Newtown Bakery in Chinatown