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Where to buy steamed Chinese buns "mantou" in Vancouver

Cancuk Feb 2, 2013 02:52 PM

I'm making a big batch of pulled pork for the Super Bowl tomorrow and thought it would be good inside those white buns (mantou) that Bao Bei serves.

I'd bet they make them in house but I'd imagine some sort of Chinese grocer/wholesale might have them. Thoughts?

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  1. LotusRapper Feb 2, 2013 03:25 PM

    T&T has 'em if you just want to do a quick cash & carry.

    If you want fresh-steamed plain ones, the 1st Ave store and Metrotown store has the most compared to Richmond's two stores (Yaohan's Osaka and the T&T around the corner in President Plaza) and Chinatown's. Not sure about the Guildford one and one at Surrey Central Mall, 'tho.

    But in all T&T, there are also pre-packaged mantou and "hua-juan" (flower-motif steamed buns with green onion: http://hungerpains.files.wordpress.co...) in the chilled (not frozen) section where they typically also keep the tofus, noodles, udons and miso soup pastes. These are usually made by local companies.

    1. LotusRapper Feb 2, 2013 03:35 PM

      If you can, try to steam them on low heat with steamer pot lid semi-covered, with some parchment paper lining the bottom of the steamer. Too much heat too fast can turn their peripheries mushy.

      Unless you are eating them immediately, I don't suggest microwaving (but if you have to, set to mid-power like 5, with a sheet of moist paper towel lining the top of the buns), for approx. 90 sec depending on your microwave oven.

      4 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper
        Cancuk Feb 2, 2013 05:53 PM

        Thanks for your help

        1. re: LotusRapper
          fmed Feb 2, 2013 07:05 PM

          Also - best to steam them in a bamboo steamer (they absorb excess water to prevent drips. Metal steamers are not great for buns, dim sum, etc. Everything becomes too soggy.)

          1. re: fmed
            LotusRapper Feb 2, 2013 10:02 PM

            Exactly, or else you'll end up with "soggy bottom buns" ;-)

            1. re: LotusRapper
              flowbee Feb 3, 2013 11:37 AM

              How very Mary Berry...

        2. flowbee Dec 6, 2013 07:13 PM

          I'm wondering if the T&T mantou worked out? I'm looking for some "bao" to put stewed pork belly into. I've never been to Bao Bei, but I'm looking for buns like in the picture attached. This was from Dunlevy Snackbar, which was kinda pathetic except for these bao...which I thought since they don't even make their own bao, I can just buy the bao and stuff them myself :P I've seen frozen (freezer-burned) ones at Ga Lok Dim Sum on Fraser. I haven't seen the ones at T&T but was wondering how they worked out for people...

          8 Replies
          1. re: flowbee
            LotusRapper Dec 6, 2013 10:28 PM

            I kinda suspect one might not be able to buy these "stock" in stores as shown. They may be either made by the likes of Gah Lok for restaurants, or made in-house in restaurants. I hope I'm wrong, and if anyone does find these in stores I'm sure many here would want to know where.

            Pine House Bakery on Kingsway (btwn Joyce and Safeway) might have something ...... just a shot in dark. Or New Town Bakery.

            1. re: LotusRapper
              flowbee Dec 15, 2013 12:37 PM

              So I ended up going to Pine House and getting their regular big sweet plain buns. At least it said "sweet" on the label. I was worried it'd be too sweet but eaten with the pork belly, it was fine. I had to cut them horizontally to turn them into a "burger".

              1. re: flowbee
                kinnickinnik Dec 15, 2013 01:11 PM

                Drool! What beer is that in pics 3/4?

                1. re: kinnickinnik
                  flowbee Dec 15, 2013 04:00 PM

                  @Brassneckbrew Joe's Barn Saison. Pretty good dry saison. Carbonation cuts through the fat :) The pork belly was Vietnamese-style "thit heo kho" that included coconut water, fish sauce, soy sauce, cooking caramel, palm sugar and star anise. And a side of "goi", Vietnamese cabbage salad (not pictured).

                  1. re: flowbee
                    kinnickinnik Dec 15, 2013 04:06 PM

                    Oh yum! Well done!
                    Finally got down to Brassneck yesterday and filled my growler with the collaboration IPA - oh, hop happiness that is :-)

                    1. re: kinnickinnik
                      flowbee Dec 15, 2013 04:25 PM

                      Yeah, that one's big and bitter and resiny. Totally a personal preference, but I like their Passive Aggressive pale ale better ;) But maybe we should start a local beer thread :D

                2. re: flowbee
                  LotusRapper Dec 15, 2013 08:53 PM

                  Nice !! Still prolly a bit too hefty, but like you said you just have to make it work :-)

                  Interested to see your pork belly recipe. Star anise added ? To me that's a defining taste.

                  1. re: LotusRapper
                    flowbee Dec 16, 2013 07:09 AM

                    It was an amalgamation of several online recipes, but the closest is this one, courtesy of good old Food Safari: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/po...

                    We used both pork belly and pork shoulder. Cuz not everyone is down with eating massive chunks of belly fat.

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