If you’re in Manhattan, to say that your choices for Taiwanese food are quite limited is an understatement. Despite the fact that pork buns are quite attainable around the city, gua baos, or the Taiwanese equivalent to a burger, take a bit more searching for. But if you’re ever in the East Village, BaoHaus would easily be the pick for both a pork bao (bun) and a Taiwanese fix.
Started by Eddie Huang and his brother Evan in 2009, BaoHaus specializes in, you guessed it, baos. Here you can get a traditional gua bao, which is a generous slice of tender slow cooked pork belly with pickled mustard greens, fresh cilantro, and powdered peanuts in a steamed bun. The pork belly is cooked in the famous hong shao style with soy sauce, rice wine, rock sugar, ginger, and star anise. Hong shao pork is said to be Mao Zedong’s favorite food, so of course this gua bao is tastefully deemed the Chairman Bao. But Eddie of course adds his own special ingredient to achieve a mouth watering caramel flavor in his hong shao pork belly: Cherry Coke.
All the other baos on the menu are not as traditional as the Chairman Bao, but serve as the perfect medium between traditional cuisine and modern youth culture. Take the 4/20 special for example, which is Cheetos fried chicken with spicy cabbage pickles, lemon garlic aioli, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro.
Visiting BaoHaus is an experience in it of itself. Though gua baos are known to be fast food, the buns at BaoHaus are made to order, so prepare for some waiting time in the intimate tagged up sitting area. But because Eddie Huang is probably too busy filming Fresh Off the Boat with Vice and designing Nikes, don’t expect to rub shoulders with him when you go in for some baos.
|The 4/20 Bao is available only Monday thru Wednesdays|
|A 4/20 Bao and a pair of Chairman Baos|
238 E 14th Street
New York, NY