My dear readers, probably if you read my blog long enough to know the essence of my eating habits most of my diet would compose of approximately 50% meat (preferably pork), 30% complex carbohydrates (as in noodles and rice), the remaining 20% miscellaneous (drinks, coffee, desserts, etc.). For the past month or so, all the buzz has been around Baohaus. Prodding around their site and reading Chef/Owner Eddie Huang’s own blog, I like his style (he said “PORK FAT IS FOREVER” and the meats are red cooked (meaning, braised in a flavorful, aromatic broth containing soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, etc., cooked until fork tender) and persuaded a few dependable, pork-lovin’ friends to come along.
Once we arrived to Baohaus, we’re a bit perplexed by the large crowd of young Asians around my age waiting outside the door around 3 PM on a Saturday. I’ve asked them are they waiting on line or something else? One of them said they’ve ordered and we allowed ourselves in and walk up to the counter. After excusing ourselves through the almost claustrophobic space (it’s a narrow storefront with a large island/ bar seating area with another table tucked on the corner near the door done up in blue and white color scheme). I saw Eddie Huang toiling behind the stove trying to catch up to three orders, while his assistant is taking down orders and the dishes in the back.
As Eddie cranked out the baos and Royal Frushes, I’ve observed most of diners were young Asians taking out cameras of every kind shooting photos of his food (from iPhones and point-and-shoots to dSLRs similar to my 5D Mark II). Oversaturated food blog market in New York City? Perhaps or we’re becoming too predictable to play up on trends.
Whilst waiting for our order, my friends spotted this (pointing above) sticker. I totally wanted one since pork fat is awesome and it does rule my life. Besides butter.
When we’re finally bestowed with our Straight Frush composed of a trio of baos (we opted for two Chairmans and one Haus) and sweet fried bao fries (it’s a substitute for the boiled peanuts since they ran out). The Chairman Bao is a steamed bun (think Peking duck bun but thicker and slightly larger) filled with braised Niman Ranch Pork Belly, topped with crushed, candied peanuts, finely chopped scallions and a sprinkling of cilantro. The Haus Bao is the same said bun except it’s filled with Certified Angus skirt steak.
Between the two, we unanimously picked the Chairman because of the luscious pork fat and there’s a good amount of pork meat as well. The Haus Bao wasn’t bad at all. It’s tender, melt in your mouth beef that dances in between the sweet and savory line of flavors that’s sandwiched in a fluffy, white bun. It just lacked the silky texture of fat that we enjoyed from the pork.
As for the sweet bao fries, it’s simply their baos (or the steamed buns) cut up in steak fries size, sweetened, deep fried to a crispy, dark orange-golden exterior and topped with black sesame sauce. The sesame sauce reminded me of what my mom made as a kid, black sesame soup except a lot sweeter and reduced or thickened enough that it clings onto the “fries.”
Very good food. Tastes authentic to me, being raised in a Chinese household. You just have to get accustomed to having people brushing up against you unintentionally as they walk past your seat, the loud old-school hip hop (they were playing Notorious B.I.G.’s music when we’re eating there), and to note, there’s no real wait service (not a bad thing really; Eddie’s good with customer service for the folks who were waiting for their order for a long time).
On a side note, for those of you who are regulars or know Eddie’s sense of humor or style, can you explain to me about the Fortune Cat that’s wearing a SARS mask? I don’t get it.
Edit (as of 2/21/10, 10:30 PM) : Eddie has explained to me via Twitter about the kitty.