Sunday, January 31, 2010

BaoHaus - Rivington & Norfolk Sts

137 Rivington St

You’re roaming around the Lower East Side, you’re hungry, it’s late, and the last thing you want is another bad piece of pizza. Lucky for you, the gua bao at BaoHaus (open Fridays & Saturdays until 2 am) is just what you need!

Eddie Huang’s gua bao are steamed Taiwanese buns filled with skirt steak, pork belly, or pan-fried tofu, along with crushed peanuts, cilantro, pickled mustard greens, Taiwanese red sugar, and BaoHaus’s special Haus Relish.

The owner, Eddie (first name basis, please!), is working behind the counter and chatting up the customers as they come in, offering advice on which bao to try and whether you want fatty or lean meat. Definitely make sure you strike up a conversation with Eddie - he has great restaurant tips to pass along and loves talking about food.

Eddie lets *Little Scarlet* take a peek around the kitchen

Eddie’s Chinese heritage and Southern upbringing are both on display here from boiled peanuts (a staple snack of the South) to the pickled mustard greens that top all of BaoHaus’s bao to the cherry cola used to braise the Chairman Bao’s pork belly. Baos are priced two to an order, but a “Straight Frush” (any three baos, an order of bao fries, and a cup of boiled peanuts) is the way to go if you want to try everything - and you definitely should!

The bao fries are like Asian French toast sticks - slices of sweet, bao dough are lightly fried and drizzled with an addictive sesame sauce.

Bao fries and sweet, sesame sauce

Eddie’s Haus Bao is the same recipe he debuted on Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown (episode airing March 21, 2010). Angus skirt steak is red-cooked until it’s so tender it almost melts in your mouth, and is given a spicy-sweet flavor from reduced moutai (Chinese firewater). This Asian barbecue-flavored beef is then served on a folded, steamed bun.

Haus bao

The Chairman Bao is stuffed with Niman Ranch pork belly that has been braised low-and-slow, melting the ribbon of fat that tops each slice. All this is complemented nicely by that same refreshing combination of crushed peanut, pickled mustard greens, and cilantro.

Eddie gives a nod to his Southern roots by using cherry cola to tenderize Chairman Bao’s pork belly

Tofu has to be something pretty spectacular to capture the interest of Little Scarlet, and the pan-fried squares of the Uncle Jesse fit the bill. Coated in sweet potato starch before being fried, the tofu is firm and silken, and really holds the flavor of the Haus sauce well.

The Uncle Jesse is not named for the “Full House” character, but rather for Eddie’s vegetarian friend, musician Jesse Hofrichter.

If you’ve never had boiled peanuts before, they are not to be passed up. Boiled peanuts are soft and meaty, unlike the hard, crunchy, dry-roasted variety that fills serving dishes all over New York’s bars. This favorite Southern snack gets an Asian twist from being boiled in rice vinegar.

Don’t be surprised - these boiled peanuts are hot and delicious!

Whether you live on the Lower East Side or it’s your favorite late-night haunt, Eddie Huang and his bao are about to become your new best friends – so be sure to visit often!

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to try the Bao Fries