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Mar 20, 2011 01:31 PM

Pan Fried Chicken Buns in L.A.?

Having been assigned to the Bay Area for an entire week last month, I made it to the far reaches of Concord where I found a dim sum restaurant offering an item I had never seen before--pan fried chicken buns. They were just like the tiny Shanghainese pan fried buns, except they weren't tiny (2 to 3x the size of a typical shen jian bao) and were full of chicken (filled to the extent of a normal chicken bao). I was pleased as a biologist who had just discovered a new species, but only until later that same day when while at SFO waiting for my flight home. At that time I strolled by the Fung Lum counter in Terminal 3, when I spotted a bunch of pan fried chicken buns on display. A subsequent Internet search revealed a couple of other Bay Area dim sum restaurants offering the same item. What I'm wondering is whether I'm totally blind and missed something which is available in Los Angeles, or whether that's some kind of San Francisco specialty. Any local sightings?

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  1. What did they look like?

    Elite has these types of chicken buns (pics below, not mine).

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      They look like giant shen jian bao, white dough but browned on the bottom, tops a little flat, as contrasted to the customary steamed, baked, or pineapple top chicken bao.

      1. re: Chandavkl

        Empress Pavillion on Hill St. (I really think it's on Broadway) has a baked gai bao that looks like what you are talking about.

        Empress Pavilion Restaurant
        988 N Hill St # 201, Los Angeles, CA

        1. re: Hughlipton

          No. The ones Chandavkl are looking for are not baked at all.

          They would like these (pics below), but have chicken filling instead of pork.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            You have me on this one but now tell me where the pictures are from. If I can get those here in L.A. I'm leaving now to be in line for tomorrow. Rain or no rain.

            1. re: Hughlipton

              If you are just looking for regular Shen Jian Bao (i.e. with pork filling), then places like Shau May, Dean Sin World, JTYH, J&J, etc. will all have them.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Elite's chicken buns look more like 雞批 which is "chicken pie" in Cantonese, a very common bakery savory pastry item in Hong Kong (at the cafes and bakeries).

        1. re: K K

          Yes, Royal Star in Santa Monica used to make a fantastic version before they closed down. And you can imagine how stunned I was to find the exact replica at Jade Palace--in Louisville, KY

      3. Would you mind letting us know where in Concord you had these? We'll be in Marin next weekend and might want to get a group together for Dim sum.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

          Imperial Seafood, 1680 Willow Pass Road. Unexpected find in that part of the East Bay, though there is a 99 Ranch Market across the street.

          99 Ranch
          17713 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA