Baohaus is an intimate little bao peddler in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, owned by restauranteur, author and TV personality Eddie Huang. Since it’s opening in 2009, it exclusively serves-up gua bao, which are (for those who don’t know) those fluffy white Taiwanese tacos filled with delicious things. Inside the tight quarters, you get a hip hop soundtrack, distressed red brick, graffiti and an open kitchen. Although they don’t advertise it, the basic utilitarian venue seems to suit “grab and go” punters, or those coming for a an anti lingering bite to eat.
So onto the food, at $4 a pop, you can have a ‘Chairman bao’ – a red cooked pork belly, topped with crushed peanuts, red sugar; pickled mustard greens, and a garnish of coriander. The butteriness you get from the hunks of swine comes from sealing the pork in a hot pan, which is then braised in rice wine, soy sauce, rock sugar, ginger and star anise. Oh and cherry Cola is added into the stock! This is known “red cooking” which hails from the Hunan province. Mao Zedong had a penchant for red-cooked pork belly, hence the name.
The Birdhaus Bao at $3.55 is a fried succulent piece of chicken brined for 24hrs, then it’s treated to Haus special salt, lemon-garlic aioli, crushed peanuts for texture, red sugar and sprinkles of coriander. It was delish, had fun texture but with the pork belly as company, it was outgunned.
Fried fish bao is pimped with Haus tartare sauce, lemon cabbage slaw, fried garlic, crushed peanuts, red sugar and coriander. The fish is cooked so well, piping hot and steaming when we bit into the crunchy exterior. The additional elements, especially the red sugar and crushed nuts added to the textural crunch. If there is something we’d come for, this would be it.
When did I go? November 2016
The damage: Expect to pay $20ish per head.
The good: Every bao we had was satisfying and put us in all kinds of happy; I salut Eddie for bringing his own rendition of Taiwanese street food to NYC. I’m sure it’s the “dragon sweat” he’s put into it!
The bad: My only grumble is that I prefer my pork belly with an even meat/fat ratio.
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 238 E. 14th St, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone: +1 646-669-8889