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Feb 2, 2013 02:52 PM

Where to buy steamed Chinese buns "mantou" in Vancouver

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. 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: 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. 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

          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

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

        2. 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

            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

              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

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

                1. re: kinnickinnik

                  @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

                    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

                      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

                  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

                    It was an amalgamation of several online recipes, but the closest is this one, courtesy of good old Food Safari:

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