57. Bolsa Bao at Baos Hog
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
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!
58. Full Moon Roll at Full Moon Sushi 59. Fried Chicken at Plaza Inn 60. Tonkotsu Spicy Ramen at Ramen Yamadaya 61. Three-Meat Combo at Robert Earl's BBQ 62. AYCE Sushi at Sake 2 Me 63. Yaki Dog at Burntzilla 64. Fruit Sorbet at the Playground 66. Dulce de Leche Walnut Shrimp Taco at Dos Chinos 65. Buñuelo Waffle at Waffles Inc 67. Cajun Seafood Pasta at The Big Catch 68. Belgian Fries at Wursthaus 69. Scoops x Contra Ice Cream Float at Scoops Ice Cream Santa Ana 70. Buttermilk Panna Cotta at Lola Gaspar 71. Hummus at Mick's Karma Bar 72. Savory Baked Goat Cheese Bread Pudding at Eat Chow 73. Sicilian Style Pepperoni Pizza at Perry's Pizza & Italian Restaurant 74. Kabocha Honey Nuts at Kabuki 75. Smashed Potatoes at Standing O 76. Dim Sum at Seafood Cove #2 77. Loco Moco at Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe 78. Bratwurst at Barley Forge 79. Beef Noodle Soup at (Wafting Fragrance) Noodle House 80. Taco de Nopal at Urban Cactus 81. Fried Chicken at Crazy Chi-Mac 82. Mole Tots at Amor y Tacos 83. Khao Soi at S.T. Noodle Bar 84. Chili Cone Queso at Cozy Cone Motel 85. Crispy Smelt at Big Catch Seafood 86. Teriyaki Chicken Plate at California Plate 87. Combo Plate at MasalaCraft 88. Cornbread Waffle & Chicken at Mrs. Bea's 89. Everything at Crispy Town 90. Kurobuta Pork Belly Bánh Mì at Mendocino Farms 91. Tostilocos at Tortas y Biónicos "Nice" 92. Milanesa at Delicias Peruanas 93. Super Nachos at Kelly's Korner Tavern 94. Tortas at Sliced and Diced Eatery 95. Seasonal Dumplings at Coconut Rabbit 96. Burrito de Birria de Res from Burritos La Palma 97. Bò Kho at Song Long Restaurant 98. Pancake Sandwich at Willowick Golf Course 99. Tahdig at Tanor Fresh Mediterranean Grill 100. Quatro Formaggi Panini at Old Vine Cafe
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