We've been meaning to post on these delectable baked buns since we stumbled upon them in Chinatown around New Year. That day we bought a sampling of goodies from this tiny stall and ate most of them in the car, but held aside one of these shiny beauties for later. We wrapped it up and set it on the counter, planning to sample it around cocktail hour. But our voracious rottweiler mix mutt - who can smell a month-old piece of meat from a mile away and would probably eat cardboard if it were painted to look like cat poop (fellow dog owners, you know what I mean) - got to it first.
Two weeks later we found ourselves in the area again and bought another. Wiser for experience, we ate it on the street, then and there. It's a char siew bao (BBQ pork bun), but with a twist: the meaty filling is studded with what we believe are lotus seeds. The combination makes for an agreeably lighter bao than your average all-meat version. Beyond that, this vendor's char siew stuffing hits just the right notes of meat and sweet, smoky and porky.
The lotus seed-pocked interior invites documenting, so we held off on sharing this treat until we could get back to the stall, bring a bun home, cut it open, get out the reflector, and set up the tripod.
Well, this past Sunday we got as far as bringing it home. We placed it on the kitchen counter - carefully positioning it right up against the wall, as far from counter lip as possible and well out of reach of the hound. And went to our respective offices to tend to other tasks.
An bit later, lunch digested enough have created a void in our bellies that would be well serviced by a half bao each, we went downstairs to retrieve it ... and found nothing but a piece of plastic wrap on the floor.
This bao is apparently so good that it drove our pretty old, incredibly lazy, exercise-shunning dog to heretofore unknown physical feats.
Of course, you may not wish to trust the culinary opinions of an undiscerning dog. But trust us. This is one beautiful bao.
Char siew bao stall, Jalan Hang Lekir close to the corner of Jalan Petaling (near the longan juice stall). This stall also sells Malay kuih, Shanghai char siew buns (log-like shape, delicious but lotus seed-free char siew filling), honey buns (nothing exciting here), and kaya puffs (wonderful crisp, flaky pastry but a filling a bit too sweet for our taste).