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Mar 29, 2010 01:41 PM

Best Pork and Vegetable Bun in Chinatown?

I must say my craving for a good pork and vegetable bun (cai ro bao/baozi) is surprising me. It's not a food I have ever craved before, but lately the idea of a big pillowy cloud of steamed white bread wrapped around a meaty cabbage-studded filling sounds like it will really hit the spot.

I've tried a few places on Clement and one on Stockton today. Both places served me stone cold buns with stingy amounts of filling.

Any help? I would prefer Chinatown as it's within walking distance for me, but really I'd just like to file away some options that are better than where I've been. TIA

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  1. The small versions at Louie's dim sum are pretty good. Maybe a little oily but a least always nice and hot. I like the bottom crispy. East Ocean in Alameda also makes a good one but they don't always seem to have it. And strangely enough I have had some tasty ones at Lee's Sandwiches (the Banh Mi chain in the east bay - not sure they have one in SF yet). Lee's has a version that is also big with the addition of a hard boiled egg - filling enough for a one bun lunch.

    The Larkin Street might be the one I am talking about. It is a franchise Vietnamese place

    Lee's Sandwiches
    625 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    1. Sorry to say nothing in SF Chinatown comes to mind. If you make to Oakland Chinatown then Shang Dong (or some spelling that area of China) has a hung pork and cabbage bun. I remember a few years ago my cousin and I watch a young lady wrapping them. My cousin after watching her for about 10 minutes want me to ask her if she was married so that he could ask for hand in marriage. She was that skillful wrapping the buns. By the way my cousin was married but was so impressed with her handy work.

      Wish I could help but if I can think of one later I will reply again. But the memory of the huge bun still stick in my mind.

      Gourmet Kitchen and New Wing Sing had decent pork and vegetable buns.

      Wing Sing
      1125 Stockton, San Francisco, CA

      Gourmet Kitchen
      1051 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA

      1. I don't think there's place in Chinatown that makes a decent Northern style baozi, but I'd love to be proven wrong. Most of the bakeries there are Cantonese style or at least made by Toishanese/Southern Chinese, and do not replicate that taste, or try to make a flavorless colorless mutant chasiu bao with cabbage intead (with no delicate knifework or mixing nor seasoning of contents).

        Kingdom of Chinese Dumplings on Noriega sells baozi frozen to go. The trick is to catch them (weekends more likely) when the Northern grannies/ladies in the back finish making a batch, while they are still steaming hot, before they hit deep freeze. I would advise calling ahead to find out when. Their pork and cabbage buns are not bad (a tad bit salty at times) but the vegetarian buns are excellent when you find out the amount of love and care that goes into them (especially the delicate and intricate knifework to chop up the veg, fen si).