For New Yorkers, steamed pork buns are old news. You can find them all over the city, starting at Eddie Huang's Baohaus or David Chang's Momofuku Noodle Bar. As of last month, Orange County finally caught up--thanks to Baos Hog. Of all their bun offerings, the Bolsa Bao is one of the most texturally rich and creative. It's a steamed bun with heo quay (means "crispy roast pork" in Vietnamese) and a thin layer of hoisin sauce, like David Chang's bun. But what makes the Bolsa Bao different from any bun in New York City is its Vietnamese influence. Not only is it topped with what you'd normally see in banh mi--sour pickled daikon, carrots, cucumber, and cilantro--but also fried shallots, which many Vietnamese dishes are never served without.
Bite into this bao and you'll experience four textures at once: the softness of the bun, crispiness of the pork skin, tenderness of the pork meat, and crunchiness of the toppings. The flavors blend together like a banh mi with the pork skin stepping in for a baguette to give it crustiness. There's a benefit to using a bao over a baguette, too: because of the bun's pillowy nature, it absorbs the hoisin sauce and pork juices like a sponge. The consequence? Consistently flavorful bites from all ends of the bao.
Bao's Hog, 13918 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 600-3311
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Behold the beginning of our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
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