The soft, steamy flavors of Tom’s BaoBao at Harvard Square awakened in me a new appreciation for the diverse cuisines of China. Those with nut allergies often find it daunting to approach Asian restaurants… but Tom’s BaoBao in Harvard Square was absolutely amazing, delicious, and peanut and tree nut free!
Bao or steamed buns are a delicious street food that first appeared over 1,200 years ago in China. These little steamed buns make up some of the most popular recipes of northern China.
The exact origins of the dish are difficult to trace, although the char Siu bao — named for its use of char Siu pork — was a staple in most dim sum platters served in Chinese tea houses along the Silk Road, serving as an archetype for its many variants over the centuries.
This well-known street food, an ultra-soft white dome, offers a complement of flavors — sweetness and sourness of meat. The pillow like Chinese treats can be either savory or sweet. Sometimes filled with traditional ingredients like pork, chicken, vegetables, or potatoes, they also can be perfect pockets for more adventurous palates when stuffed with tuna or BBQed pigtails! With an edgy twist of Shaoxing wine, mild curry or smoked tofu, charred Shishito peppers, to name a few the recipes tantalize the taste buds!
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