DIDIscoveries: House of Bao PH’s Jian Bao

Jian Baos. Honestly, I didn’t know what they were.  It was only when I googled it, did I realize that locally, it’s called Fried Siopao.  Jian baos are cousins of the more known XLB (Xiao Long Baos), the difference is that jian baos are *breadier*, well that’s according to www.seriouseats.com

Now that I have an idea on what it is, I have some sort of expectation on it. Well, for most baos – I have these standards that need to be met.  I like them aromatic.  I like the ratio of the filling and bao bun to be just right.  I like the bao bun to be tasty, and quite a few more. Ang arte ko, diba?  But seriously – I have a lot of things to consider when it comes to baos 包s. You will say, *ang daming arte naman ni Didi*!  Well, true – because I’ve come across so many baos, that most of the time they are just pretending to be baos.  Hahaha!!  If you know what I mean.  Like for example, the toasted siopao – I have NEVER come across one with the right ratio of filling and bun, it’s always the bun is more – I feel like I was duped!  So when it comes to baos – well, I have reservations.

So when a friend of mine, Slao sent some Jian Bao fromHouse of Bao PH my way.  I knew that if that bao passed her standards, it would surely pass mine.  I was quite excited really, and when I received them – I immediately did my mental *checklist* Criteria #1 – Aroma/Scent of the bao We belong to the group of the *Langhap Sarap*.  With just the aroma of food, you can immediately say it’s good.  With House of Bao PH‘s jian bao – it was that.  It smelled soooo wonderful (read more below).  It smelled very Asian-ish, and you’d know by the scent it’s definitely Chinese food.  But seriously with the aroma, you’d be hooked in and left curious. CHECK Criteria #2 – The look of the bao It was wrapped in small plastic, making sure that you can immediately try it without the mess.  Well, thought of – right?  CHECK.  When I opened the plastic – I saw black sesame seeds!  Well, that’s a first and I loooooove black sesame.  CHECK.  The size was a bit small (my first impression), but then I realized – cousin nga ng XLB – so it can’t be big, CHECK.  The bun looked really nice, I can imagine the effort put into how it was made in that way, CHECK.  Easy on the eyes. CHECK (sss) Criteria #3  The amount of filling and bao bun I get so pikon when I see that the filling is very little compared to the bun.  I really do.  So When I cut into this jian bao – I was impressed on how generous the filling was to the amount of bao bun.  I know that some do cost cutting – limit the amount of filling versus the amount of bread.  But it really beats the purpose, right?  I mean why even call it a bao (or siopao) when the meat is just a measly bit!  Most of the time, we just throw out the excess bun (if there is no filling felt), I confess, I do that most of the time, but with this House of Bao PH jian bao, nothing I mean NOTHING gets thrown out. CHECK

Criteria #4 The first bite into the bao I have this thing that I try and guess which side/part of the bao to bite into first.  Let me tell you, it’s a tough decision. This is because we all want to taste that filling right away.  So when I bit into another bao (not the one I cut for the filling and bao bun ratio) I was so happy to bite into the right amount of filling AND bao bun.  It’s not all filling and not all bao bun.  It was a good mixture of both!  I really hate it when, I’ll say it in Tagalog *hinanahabol mo yung kagat mo for the bun and the filling*  With this bao, every bite – you get the right amount of both filling and bao bun. CHECK! Criteria #5 The crisp on the bite It’s not the crisp of the bun, but the crunch of when you bite into the filling.  The filling, is for sure mostly meat – but I have tried really really good baos in other countries that have this *crisp/crunch* in them.  When I bit into this bao, I knew it was a winner because I bit into something crisp.  That was the clincher for me. CHECK! The jian baos of House of Bao PH passed all my criteria.  It was aromatic (when I picked up my order, it was pure torture in the car!  Connor was even saying how yummy the car smelled!  Hahaha.. It was intoxicating that I couldn’t stop myself from having a piece while driving – I had to control not to finish them!)  I really looooved that when I bite into the baos, there’s filling and there’s the bun!  I don’t think there was an instance where I was left with excess of filling or bun.  Wala akong hinahabol na kagat, it was perfect.  This made me realize that the size (when I first thought it was small) was actually just right.  The size I think was made to make you want to eat another bao (and another), and when you do – it’s not super filling that you’d want to stop, it will not make you feel guilty for having more than one.  It would actually make you want to have more and more!  Don’t ask me na how many baos I can have in one go.  Hahaha!!  Then there’s the crisp/crunch into the bite.  I looooved it so much!  I was telling my mom that what got me was the crunch bite into the filling, since I haven’t tasted any that had that *bite* here in Manila, EVER. I reached out to Darren right after trying his jian baos and ordered some because I wanted to share the joy of this really yummy bao with family and friends.  Hahaha!  I shared it with my brother, who incidentally is friends with Darren’s older brother.  They have a history with food you know, they were the pioneers of Belgian Fries and Slammin (my forever favorite is Slammin’s John Candy).  I was told that Darren went to Taiwan to master the art of making jian bao.  Darren shared that he was in Taiwan for another mission actually and found this instead.  I must say, THANK YOU Darren for these baos.  I swear, they’re life changing – feeling ko it’s all I want to eat all day!  Hahaha… Try this guys, TRY IT and for sure my criteria will be yours too once you’ve tasted House of Bao PH‘s jian baos.  It’s really really good.  Don’t take my word for it, have some and try it. Go! Get in touch with Darren on the House of Bao PH‘s Instagram.  He’ll reply right away for sure!

*Videos are from House of Bao PH’s IG account.


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