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MSP- Pork Buns?

sarah.j.morrison Sep 27, 2009 07:22 AM

Looking for steamed asian pork buns made with pork belly. Anybody seen these in Minneapolis? Fell in love with them in NYC, but don't know of any local place that offers them.

thanks for your help!

  1. scoopG Sep 28, 2009 02:59 AM

    I am afraid that the the Ssam Bar or Flushing's Temple Snack's pork belly buns are not found in the Twin Cities. You'll have to make do with the home-made version until your next NYC trip!


    1. s
      soupkitten Sep 28, 2009 09:02 PM

      same kind offered at quang ? i think, anyway ? if they are not the same thing i'm sorry to waste your buck seventy five or whatever to find out ;-)

      1. j
        JimGrinsfelder Sep 28, 2009 09:04 PM

        Check out Satay 2 Go in Apple Valley.


        Maybe she's got what you want. Maybe not, but her food is terrific. The little pastries stuffed with chicken curry are stunning.

        1. scoopG Sep 29, 2009 04:12 AM

          They are not listed on either the Quang or Satay2go online menus. Gua Bao or Pork Belly Buns are basically a Taiwanese street food. Here are some photos:

          1.) Momofuko Ssam Bar’s Pork Belly Buns: Two for $9.00



          2.) Flushing Temple Snack’s Pork Belly Hamburger: $4.00 each



          6 Replies
          1. re: scoopG
            soupkitten Sep 29, 2009 09:08 AM

            thanks for the clue that the op is apparently looking for a taiwanese item, gua bao! "asian pork buns" wasn't helping me out much. my rec was for the (large) stuffed vietnamese steamed buns, banh bao, at quang (minced pork, chinese sausage, quail egg). there is a large picture of them here: "yummy buns go fast":


            so, these seem to not be the pork buns the op is looking for, though they are very tasty. better luck finding the exact item, perhaps, at keefer court or pagoda? i have seen similar items at both places, though i haven't sampled them. right now i can't seem to get the pagoda menu to work online, hmmm-- but keefer court is a good, though small, traditional chinese bakery which lists "steam bbq pork buns" for $1.25/ea. worth a look anyway. link to their bakery item page:


            1. re: soupkitten
              scoopG Sep 30, 2009 03:44 AM

              Thanks for the photos there - Quang's buns look to be Sheng Jian Bao or a steamed pork pork. Keefer Court looks interesting, so many menu items from a tiny place!

            2. re: scoopG
              JimGrinsfelder Sep 29, 2009 08:36 PM

              I don't think I've seen them at Quang. I vaguely remember seeing steamed buns stuffed with some kind of pork at Satay 2 Go. Maybe they don't stuff it with the pork belly.

              I thought I heard that the owners at e-noodle are from Taiwan. If they don't have them on menu, you might ask nicely if they could make them as a special request (with a few days notice and a large enough minimum order...who knows).

              Khans Mongolian BBQ had some horrible steamed buns, but I haven't eaten at a Khans in over a decade.

              1. re: JimGrinsfelder
                scoopG Sep 30, 2009 03:53 AM

                The question is then has pork belly made its way on to any Twin City menus? In NYC it is possible to buy a smaller portion of fresh pork belly, say a 2-3 pound piece but many local butchers will only sell a minimum size piece, say 5-7 pounds. Pork Belly is also used in a classic Shanghainese dish called Dong Po Rou. Here's a photo:


                1. re: scoopG
                  SmartCookie Sep 30, 2009 07:43 AM

                  United Noodle in Minneapolis sells smaller amounts of pork belly.

                  1. re: SmartCookie
                    scoopG Sep 30, 2009 02:37 PM

                    Yes, in at least 2 lb packages. Wonder where it is all going?

            3. v
              vicks Sep 29, 2009 04:34 PM

              Moto-I (http://www.moto-i.com/file/Main(130).pdf) probably has the closest thing to ssam bar's pork buns...I had them and they were pretty good - dunno how they will compare to ssam bar - but Im pretty sure when I had them, they used pork belly...

              worth checking out if you are craving some...

              5 Replies
              1. re: vicks
                scoopG Sep 30, 2009 03:45 AM

                From the menu description they are not even close and if they were using pork belly they would say so. I am sure it is just regular pork butt aka pork shoulder.

                1. re: scoopG
                  vicks Sep 30, 2009 09:12 AM

                  They look exactly like these (http://domesticattempts.files.wordpre...) and I know the difference between pork belly and pork shoulder. When I went (like the first week they opened) it was in my eyes, pork belly...

                  Saying they use pork belly can be a good or a bad thing depending on the guest, when and if I use it, I usually only say braised bacon or something along those lines because pork belly can scare a lot of guests...

                  1. re: vicks
                    scoopG Sep 30, 2009 02:45 PM

                    Well their menu doesn't list them - at least what can be see on the link you provided. They indicate they serve steamed buns with Hoisin pork for $3.00. Seems to me if it is pork belly they should just declare it. Won't the same folks who shudder at the sound of pork belly reject Hosin pork buns? And you are right, pork belly and bacon are one and the same thing - they are just cut differently.

                    1. re: scoopG
                      ted Dec 2, 2009 10:24 AM

                      A buddy of mine travels a good bit to work in MSP. I keep trying to get him to moto-i to try it for me. A sake brewpub is too cool a concept for me not to get one of my friends to check it out (haven't got a reason to visit, myself).

                      And, FWIW, bacon is cured and smoked pork belly. To me, how you cut it is inconsequential (slabs, strips, lardons, etc). Sorry for the thread resurrection to make the point.

                      1. re: ted
                        scoopG Dec 5, 2009 05:50 AM

                        Lardon is pork fat and may be from the pork belly and it might not be. In Chinese or Korean cooking the pork belly doesn't have to be cured and is cooked whole.

              2. s
                sarah.j.morrison Sep 30, 2009 10:15 PM

                Thanks for all the recommendations! We went to Moto-I in Uptown today for their buns--- very good and reasonably priced ($3/each). Right on par with Momofoku and Ipuddo in NYC. Their dumplings and sashimi were also good. They make all of their own sake. definitely worth checking out!

                3 Replies
                1. re: sarah.j.morrison
                  satay2go Mar 9, 2010 10:50 AM

                  Satay 2 Go do have the steamed BBQ pork buns. They are only available on Saturday. It is only $1.60 each. We did not publish it in our menu cause we only make it available on Saturday only.

                  1. re: satay2go
                    scoopG Mar 9, 2010 05:48 PM

                    The OP (and others!) are looking for pork belly buns. Clearly, you are not selling braised pork belly buns for $1.60...

                    1. re: scoopG
                      b ster Mar 24, 2010 09:45 AM

                      In December there was a post that called out Moto-i as not specifically noting "pork belly" buns on their menu...it's definitely on the menu now, and I tried them last week. Really solid buns...would highly recommend to anyone.

                2. drew13000 Dec 3, 2009 12:05 PM

                  The last time I visited Lurcat--which was like last winter--they had a pork belly bun offered at the bar. Unfortunately, the bar menu isn't working for me on the website, so I can't see if it's still offered, but it was similar to the Moto-i version, but much, much tastier!

                  1. s
                    savvyguy Mar 23, 2010 07:57 PM

                    Sarah, I am not sure about pork belly but Evergreen on Eat Street/Nicollet has some delish buns. Very, very good. You could also try the frozen area at my favorite Asian Market in town: United Noodle. If you like fish, it's right near Coastal Seafood near the West Bank area.

                    Coastal Seafoods
                    74 Snelling Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105

                    United Noodles
                    920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

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