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Steamed BBQ Pork Buns

anv Jul 13, 2007 09:55 AM

Ok, chowfriends, here's what I have a hankering for:

The steamed buns that are filled with barbeque pork (and other assorted things) in a sweet red sauce that are served at Chinese dim sum. The buns are white and doughy, and usually have a crosshatch at the top. They are not the buns that are filled with the gray colored pork, and have been toasted on top.

I have looked everywhere for a version of these to eat at home - from Maria's chinese bakery in Rockville to Daruma (Japanese, I know, but they stock Chinese goods) to no avail.

Perhaps I need to know the term of art? Please advise.

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  1. d
    dpan RE: anv Jul 13, 2007 10:10 AM

    These are the pork buns (cha siew bao) which are traditionally served in dim sum places. The bakeries like Maria's will have the baked version which have a brown crust. You can buy frozen ones in places like Kam Sam or Maxim, but the ones we usually get are vegetarian but taste very close to the authentic.

    1. c
      chowsearch RE: anv Jul 13, 2007 10:10 AM

      Char shiu (roast pork) bow or bao (bun)--seen in freezer cases at Lotte Plaza (which has a Rockville location) and possibly at Hanh Ah Rheum (unsure spelling), both being pan-Asian supermarket chains. Carry out Saturday and Sunday from dim sum service at New Fortune on Rockville Pike, Hollywood East and Good Fortune on University in Wheaton.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chowsearch
        mattm RE: chowsearch Jul 13, 2007 04:53 PM

        The spelling and pronunciation can vary a bit. It's the trouble with different Romanizations of the Chinese language, which also has different dialects.

        No leads on where to get an at-home version.

        1. re: chowsearch
          AndreaD RE: chowsearch Jul 13, 2007 06:57 PM

          Hanh Ah Rheum (isnt that H-Mart now?) definitely sells them in the frozen aisle. I bought a pack a few years ago. They were quite doughy.

          I am excited to learn that Bahn Mi DC has them. Can't wait to try!

        2. c
          CH2176 RE: anv Jul 13, 2007 10:32 AM

          Banh Mi DC in Falls Church and some cafes in Eden Center carry these as well, sweet roast pork and pork or chicken with egg. Sio Bao (sp)
          Also, Grand Mart in Centreville or Sterling carries them in the freezer section.

          2 Replies
          1. re: CH2176
            wayne keyser RE: CH2176 Jul 13, 2007 01:43 PM

            Can't say much in defense of the frozen version.

            1. re: CH2176
              Bill on Capitol Hill RE: CH2176 Jul 13, 2007 02:03 PM

              The ones at Banh Mi D.C. Sandwich are excellent.

            2. KWynn RE: anv Jul 13, 2007 10:52 AM

              You might want to check Trader Joes or Shoppers. Both have a wide variety of frozen ethnic foods that you can prepare at home.

              1. m
                MilliVanilli RE: anv Jul 13, 2007 01:57 PM

                I hope by 'assorted other things', you weren't referring to cardboard...


                BEIJING, July 12 (UPI) -- A dim-sum restaurant in Beijing allegedly sold buns stuffed with a cardboard treated with caustic soda and flavored with pork fat.

                Authorities in the Chinese capital closed the shop after a television program reported on the unusual and possibly dangerous filling, The Beijing Times reported. The owner allegedly decided to cheat his customers as pork prices rose and reportedly said that he was saving $132 a day.

                The owner allegedly used a prep kitchen some distance from his shop to prepare the buns so customers wouldn't realize what they were purchasing. According to the television program, the filling was prepared by soaking cardboard in water and caustic soda to make it look like pork and then adding pork flavor and fat.

                1. i
                  ivandwu RE: anv Jul 14, 2007 07:56 PM

                  I was out shopping this afternoon and saw that Maxim Gourmet Oriental Market in Rockville, MD has fresh "char siu bao" in their prepped food section (warmed and refrigerated). I can't attest to the taste/quality but figure it's probably not too bad. I think many of the local Chinese markets have similar offerings if they have a prepared food section. Maxim is located at 460 Hungerford Drive.

                  As for the frozen variety, I've found that most taste pretty good but the dough can get a bit dry sometimes since they've been frozen and the size of the buns tend to be smaller (of course, this can be resolved by just eating another 1 or 2).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ivandwu
                    dpan RE: ivandwu Jul 15, 2007 04:45 AM

                    To avoid the dry dough, it's best to steam them. Get a bamboo steamer just they'll turn out just fine.

                  2. b
                    buckeye RE: anv Jul 16, 2007 10:03 AM

                    I would go to the Great Wall in Falls Church. They have a few isles dedicated to Dim Sum. They have buns of all different varieties and sizes and you will pay a fraction of what it costs at a dim sum restaurant. They also have some of the best produce and seafood around.

                    http://www.greatwallsupermarket.com/ the website is if chinese, but if you click around you can find the address.

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