Sunday, June 7, 2015

Char Siu/Xa Xiu Bao

You say char siu (Cantonese), I say xá xíu (Vietnamese).  You say baozi, I say bánh bao.  You say awesome pork buns, I say...well, awesome pork buns.

There's a general class of yeast-leavened, no-butter, no-egg, steamed dough that is prevalent in a lot of Asian cultures; their common ancestor is likely mantou, a simple steamed dough made from flour, water, and yeast.  Though the dough is not new in any way, I would argue that David Chang's famous Momofuku pork buns have played a huge role in shepherding Asian steamed buns into today's hip food scene.

Another popular dish is char siu, which is basically marinated roast pork (some might call the marinade a form of Asian barbecue sauce) with a caramelized honey (or maltose) glaze.  Char siu and its variants are used in a bunch of dishes, including char siu rice, bánh mì xá xíu, chāshū ramen, and many others.

So today, we're going to combine the two and make char siu bao from scratch.  Let's go!