13 October, 2010

Cage Match! Roast Pork Steam Buns!

When I was little, my parents used to take me to this little Chinese restaurant in Northampton, Mass, where we used to get lunch on Saturdays. One of the things we always used to get were steamed buns with a roasted pork center. The dough was conditioned to cook via steaming, and the dough was always tender and a little on the sweet side - something that complimented the savory pork inside very well. When the restaurant closed, I was out my delicious steam buns.

But, luckily for me, the Asian supermarket in West Hartford always carries a varying selection of steam buns, roast pork included. I almost never see the same brand twice, which simultaneously rocks and sucks. So, today, I'll introduce two of the brands that I have seen more than once, Juan's and Prime Food, in a head-to-head comparison.

Juan's: These come in a nine-pack. They're smaller than Prime Food's and have a more traditional "steam bun" shape to them. The dough is a little on the tough side, but still has that slightly sweet quality I expect from them. The filling is made of small bits of pork - meaty and with little filler. These are definitely on the sweeter side, and there's some sort of sauce in there that kind of clots together in a jellylike mass. Even still, these are good. I've always enjoyed them.

Prime Food: These are bigger than Juan's, so for about the same price, you get a four pack instead of a nine pack. The dough is more tender, but they have an odd tendancy to crack at the top because of the way they're assembled. And because these're bigger, they have more filling in them. While these are more savory and roast-porky than Juan's, these also have bits of filler - cartelidge and spongy bits of fat - that the other doesn't, mixed in with the meat.

Bottom line: While I like Prime Food's steam buns, I don't really like getting a mouthful of cartelidge bits. While they've gotten better about it over the years, they still have more filler than Juan's does. And even though I prefer the savory steam buns over the sweet Juan's brand buns, I'll have to firmly side with Juan's steam buns in this cage match.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my experience char siu bao is always cracked on top. Then again, I've only ever seen fresh ones.