June 21, 2024

IMG_1530Bao, for the uninitiated, are steamed, filled, bread-like Chinese buns. You’re most likely familiar with that pillowy staple of Cantonese cuisine, the steamed pork bun. At BaoHaus, the tricked-out fast food joint co-owned by lawyer turned anti-establishment chef Eddie Huang and his brother, they do things a bit differently. The buns aren’t so much filled as they are stuffed, or wrapped. Think of them as dim sum taco sliders. A graffiti covered counter takes up half of the restaurant (“do not stand on the counter” a small sign gently scolds) while hip hop blares out onto 14th Street, but don’t let the head-shop-meets-college-hangout ambiance distract you; the limited menu of mainly Taiwanese street food at BaoHaus is a serious culinary offering. A deliciously unctuous layer of fat frames braised Berkshire pork belly in the trademark Chairman Bao. A Birdhaus Bao spotlights chicken, brined for 24 hours before deep-frying in soy oil. Snake River Farms steak makes the Wagyu Haus Bao a savory melt in your mouth experience. Toppings are optional but a liberal dusting of crushed peanut, cilantro, haus relish and Taiwanese red sugar provides a point-counterpoint of fresh flavor and a kick of texture. An icy can of Hey Song Sarsaparilla – with a strong flavor of root and much less sweetness - makes an intriguing, earthy foil. (Root beer it is not.) Next visit I’m determined to try the taro fries. And the fresh homemade soy milk. Because Baohaus, is one very, very, very fine haus indeed; one that could easily become habit-forming.



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