Taste Test

Celeb chef David Chang may have brought bao to the masses, but Van­cou­ver has been putting its own spin on the Tai­wanese sand­wich ever since. Here’s what hap­pened when we asked two lo­cal food­ies and one avid VanMag reader to find the city’s best.

Vancouver Magazine - - Contents - Kait­lyn Funk BY Tracey Kusiewicz PHOTO AND STYLING BY HON­OURABLE MEN­TION

We track down the best bao buns in town.

Her­itage Asian Eatery

This was the top choice for Chow, who said he “would go back over and over” to get a taste of Her­itage’s pork belly bao. The kim­chi daikon mash, “gravy-es­que” hoisin sauce and crisp fried onions (“Th­ese are al­most like super-rad Hick­ory Sticks”) im­pressed our other judges, too—it just missed nab­bing the num­ber-one spot. $7, 1108 WPen­der St., eather­itage.ca

Gy­oza Bar

Our taste testers all agreed that part of the at­trac­tion of a steamed bun is its “weird dough­i­ness,” but they didn’t mind this bao’s fried ex­te­rior. They also liked its re­sem­blance to a pulled pork sand­wich; fin­ished with pick­led jalapeno, cu­cum­ber and but­ter let­tuce, “it’s like if Mem­phis Blues did a bao,” said one. $6.50, 622 WPen­der St., gy­oz­abar.ca

3 Quar­ters Full

Filled with pork belly, fresh cilantro and crushed peanuts, the bao from this Tai­wanese café in the West End was the “most tra­di­tional” o–er­ing of the day: “It def­i­nitely seems no-frills,” said one. Its flavour pro­file was just a lit­tle too sweet for our judges, though. $6.95, 1P5–1789 Co­mox St., face­book.com/3quar­ters­full­cafe

Bao Down

The judges liked each in­di­vid­ual com­po­nent (ahi tuna, gua­camole, pea shoots, ba­con, wasabi aioli) in this YVR bao, but they all agreed it was “all over the place” and too ex­per­i­men­tal: “We’re re­ally stretch­ing the def­i­ni­tion here,” said Le­vang. $7, mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions, baodown.net

Meet the Judges

Alain Chow is the op­er­a­tions man­ager be­hind two of the city’s hottest rooms, Bao Bei and Kissa Tanto (named Best Chi­na­town and Best Pan-Asian, re­spec­tively, at our 2017 Res­tau­rant Awards).

David Stans­field, a con­sult­ing som­me­lier and wine ed­u­ca­tor (his lat­est gig has him sourc­ing vino for Earls), sug­gests the win­ning bao be paired with a “nat­u­ral beau­jo­lais—some­thing super high-end.”

Su­san Le­vang is abusi­ness con­sul­tant—and our Twit­ter con­test win­ner! She’s also got a fresh per­spec­tive on the city’s food scene, thanks to her role as gen­eral man­ager at Com­mis­sary Con­nect.

PAIRS BEST WITH e Sper­ling Old Vines Ries­ling 2013 // $32 The oŒ-dry style and laser acid­ity will be a match for any bao, any­where, any­time.

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