As you may have figured out by now, February 14, 2010 is…Chinese New Years.
Yes it’s Valentine’s day too. Sap.
But lets take another look at what could be in store for your right hand…the love of your life. A visit to your local Chinese restaurant, or even better Chinatown – could yield incredible results.
Growing up, I remember going to Chinatown with the grandparents and parents. We waited patiently in the long lines out the door moving at a hurried pace toward the old school register that never worked. With every long pull of the register handle, my mouth would water…drooling in anticipation for this.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Char Siu Bao

Say hello to my little friend-the Char Siu Bao, a chopped char siu pork all baked in a bun. This is truly a handful of goodness in this world of prepackaged cellophane vending machine sandwiches.

Yes, most recently showcased on Food Network’s show “the Best Thing I Ever Ate” thanks to Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto. Chef Cosentino appeared in such shows as No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, the Next Iron Chef, and Chefs vs City…Lets face it, this guy knows his stuff.

Chef Chris Cosentino

Plus hanging out with his gal pal “Erin” Sanchez can only help Cosentino’s manly snout-to-offal image. In any case, back to the one hand wonder.

Chef Sanchez (snicker snicker)

First, pork shoulder is baked roasted after being dipped in a neon red char siu sauce. This thin layer of rich redness often crisps at the very edges allowing the sugars to caramelize and brown while cooking. All rise as it gets more pornographic.

Char Siu awaiting its destiny

Once done, the meat is chopped up into tiny pieces with your favorite butcher knife aka large Chinese cleaver of death used in every Kung Fu Theater episode to decapitate the roast duck and the bad guy.

Prepare to die

Mix the chopped char siu with minced fried onions and a sauce including shoyu, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch, the universal Chinese thickening. Then (as I remember it) a fat sweaty Chinese guy rolls a fist-sized dough and creates a thumb imprint in the middle, stuffs it with a heaping spoonful of the mix into the bun. He then closes it up with a twist-pinch of his fingers and the pass of his palm to smooth the edges over.

Fat sweaty Chinese guy

Placed on baking sheets and ready for the oven-almost like soldiers awaiting their battle orders.

Fall in!

Proof one hour. Bake. Done. G-B-D. (for those non-foodies: GBD = Golden Brown and Delicious)

G-B-D

As it waits patiently to be devoured, the glistening sheen of goodness reflects the ambient light…almost like the glow from a street light beckoning you toward food nirvana.

Oooooo

Your first bite is magical. Slight crust on the outside half-heartedly gives up thanks to the brushed honey bun. Then you sink your teeth into the warm char siu goodness inside. The pork mixed in with the gooey semi-sweet baked bread is just magical. Sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite-just using one hand. Food porn for sure.

Bite of awesomeness

Yes it’s a “meat filled bun”. Oh yes my friend, just by saying those 3 magical words should get you some action on Valentine’s Day. Guaranteed. If not, call my publicists Barney Stinson.

The Barnacle

Honestly, I usually purchase about 6 of them for myself. They are usually gone by dinner time.
How much are they? Like all those Chinese, they are economical. About 45-cents each.
Beats your damn $145 dozen red roses huh? And those don’t come with a guarantee. Insert my favorite line from Tommy Boy, “…fancy guarantee on a box ’cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside”. Warm and toasty inside indeed.
 
 
 
So explore Chinatown today. I guarantee you two things:
1. You are taller than most people there.
2. You can’t just eat one of these char siu baos.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Reporting live from QuarryLaneFarms…Kung Hee Fat Choy everyone!

Warm and toasty

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