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I remember my first pork bun… it was at Momofuku Noodle bar in the East Village- I had just moved to NYC, and I was walking around my neighborhood looking for a job at whatever restaurant would hire a disheveled 18-year old line cook. I made it about three blocks before I stumbled upon Noodle Bar, which was packed with people, and had a line that stretched the entire block. So, I stood in line, and waited about an hour to finally sit at the counter. I ordered their signature ramen, and two roast pork bao. I had heard of bao buns (bao bun is redundant because bao actually means bun… but whatever), but I had never tried them. What I got was tender, fatty char siu pork, crunchy pickles, and sweet mayo in a fluffy pillow of deliciousness. Since then, I crave bao. Wouldn’t you? Whether this is your first time trying them, or you’re a seasoned bao connoisseur, tonight’s dinner (paired with a slightly more seasonal veggie curry bowl) is a peek into one of my favorite food experiences to date. Get in there!
For the bao:
First things first, broil the pork pieces on high until they are caramelized, tender, and hot. While you’re broiling, steam the buns! I usually use a bamboo steamer (cause I don’t have a microwave), but they come out great in the microwave and take about 1/10th the time. Wrap up your bao in a clean damp dish cloth or dampened paper towels, and microwave them for 45-60 seconds. Our microwave in the WECO staff kitchen took about 50 seconds, but it’s very strong- check them after 30 seconds, and adjust accordingly. They should be tender and fluffy. Once they’re done, spread some cilantro aioli in there, pop a slice or two of char siu in, and finish with the yuzu pickles. Get ‘em while they’re hot!
For the curry and rice:
In a small saucepot, warm the curry over medium low heat until it’s hot and steamy. You may want to add a splash or two of water to thin it out- it’s quite thick Make sure to stir while it warms so that it doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pan. For the rice, microwaving works best, but you can also warm it in a pot- just bring a splash or two of water to a simmer, add you rice, and cover with a lid. Keep it on low heat until it’s steamy!
That’s it! Hope you enjoy 🙂
Dinner is served, and solved.