Food in Mouth

baohaus

Baohaus

Sometimes I wonder if Google knows too much about me. For example, when I go to google and type, "chairman", the first suggestion is "Chairman Mao" For those of you who don't know, Chairman Mao is the person who turned China into a communist country. An opportunistic little fuck he was... and he's mostly the reason why people who live in Taiwan today are living there now. I bring this up because I went to Baohaus recently and I hate communists. And they renamed the 'gua bao' as the 'Chairman Bao'. Get it? Name play here. So a Taiwanese food item that sometimes is coined as the name 'Taiwanese Burger' is now named for a guy who enabled the people's revolution, and whose legacy helped tank down Democracy activists in Tienamen Square. Yea... All that said, I love Baohaus and I really hope everyone tries their stuff. So let's get to the rest of this post...

haus-bao

Before going any further, gotta shout out to the Blackhawks for taking home the Stanley Cup. I'm not a hockey fan by any means, don't even know the rules... but it's great to see them win the cup for the first time since '61. Anyway so I brought up the Chairman Bao stuff because the owner of Baohaus was commenting on a truck in SF that's trying to rip him off. There's a truck on the other coast trying to go by the name of Chairman Bao Truck (hereforth referred to as the Ripoff Truck). That's pretty lame if you ask me.

So somewhere I read the owner of Baohaus (Eddie Huang) was saying that the Ripoff Truck had this clashing design on the truck with a panda dressed as Chairman Mao and then the background is Japanese sun rays (see sun rays and the truck). I thought Eddie made a great point there, so when I thought more about his famous bao and its famous name... it got me thinking about how it's a slight contradiction as well. It's not Alanis Morrisette ironic, but it is sorta.

chairman-bao

About the food! Baohaus is located on Rivington St in the Lower East Side, and they can be easy to miss if you're not looking carefully. The restaurant is kind of on that level that's half above ground and half below. If you walk around in New York, you know what I mean. The main things on the menu are gua baos. They got one called Haus Bao that's made with hanger steak. And the Chairman Bao is made with all natural Berkshire pork belly. Let me tell you, this is good stuff.

I'm not sure that traditionally it's a big deal to source high quality meat in Taiwanese cooking. Who knows, even though I spent my childhood in Taiwan, my fatass was too busy eating to know from where the pigs came. Just put it in my mouth was my motto... but tasting Taiwanese food that's made with better ingredients and tasting it in Manhattan... just never thought it was possible.

Eddie Huang is opening another restaurant called Xiao Ye and that looks to be interesting as well. You could follow the progress along on his blog at: http://thepopchef.blogspot.com/. From his blog, it sounds like Xiao Ye is going to be progressive Taiwanese food made for the masses. I mean, we can't all just push oyster omelets and stinky tofu on the rest of the world. There's more to a cuisine than the individual dishes, and hopefully Eddie can take the flavor profiles to a new level. As a Taiwanese American, I'm pretty excited. You should also get excited, and get yourself down to Baohaus, even if they got a bao named after a motherfucker like Mao.

Baohaus
238 E 14th st.
New York, NY 10003
646-669-8889

Map to find Baohaus

Posted by Danny on

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Comments

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  • Someone tell Nicolas that Momofuckyou's pork buns are .. 2 for $9 + tip / tax? As 'freedom'ed Chinesers, ie, KMT, the Taiwanese are trained to hate the Commies. It's not even open to discussion, much less a philosophical one.

  • I agree with her. :)

  • p.s. I love stuff too! :)

  • @Carol,

    Please let me know when you find that ripoff truck!

    @Victoria,

    Thought exercises are nice, and I love them too when it comes to discussions of morality and justice. For communism though, I think it's really difficult to get to theoretical because in real life it's been impossible to implement. At the heart of the issue in my mind is whether human desire is bred into us or whether it exists within us inherently. I'm of the camp that desire exists inherently and therefore it's difficult for me to believe that human desire wouldn't ruin a world where we all get a little of everything.

  • Is communism TRULY contrary to human nature though? I think that all humans are self-interested, but hedonism is a consequence of our society and the values that it has instilled in us. I think that on a primitive level, what all people desire most is security. Communism - in the form proposed by Karl Marx and NOT the form that we've seen implemented in recent history - offers this.

    For a thought exercise, imagine yourself in bubble. You have no idea what your position in in society is. You have no idea who you are, but you retain all your cognitive capacities. Then imagine that someone offers you two options: 1. You can live in a world where everyone has equal access to resources. Although everyone might not have a lot, no one has to go without. 2. You can live in a world where some people have more resources than they could ever need - and live in unbelievable luxury, while others have nothing. If you were to make the decision not knowing your own place in the world, you (and everyone else given these same options) would choose choice #1. For fear of possibly being at the bottom of the social ladder, everyone would want a world that offers the most protection to every member of society. They would want a world in which even the worst-off really aren't that much worse-off than everyone else.

    People in our world now are only hedonistic due to the way that things stand. We live in a world like option 2. And as such, because the inequality already exists, everyone is constantly seeking a means to reach the top. Being on the bottom sucks, and no one wants to be there. Part of our desire for more "stuff" stems from a fear of not having enough. And maybe also in part due to a certain dissatisfaction that comes from knowing that there are others who have a whole lot more (again, something that would be not be an issue in a communist system).

    I'm not a communist, and I love stuff, but I figured that I would just put this out there.

  • As a reader who lives near SF, I am now dying to find this rip off truck!

  • I guess that's a fair point Danny (all of them actually) from the experience outside of environment, to occasionally spending extra for those experiences.

    I go through periods of readjustment, where my perceptions of pricing are skewed based on where I live. I'm currently at a point where I feel like everything in the US is absurdly priced ha.

  • @Nicholas,

    That's what I do, bring thoughts to people ;) I don't get too upset about it really, it was just something that came up in my mind. And let's keep in mind the owners are Taiwanese so it's not like the Ripoff Truck on the other coast.

    Pricing in NY always gets me, and you know this probably from my thing about Prosperity Dumplings. Over the years I've come to grips with it because at the end of the day, life is about experiences. The experience of having a blue collar snack is not exactly replicated, but the experience of having the snack itself *is*. So then we ask ourselves, what am I doing living in NY? Well, one could be living in Taipei, but here in NY? I don't think it gets better than this.

    Now, if I'm somewhere where there's lots of choice, then the comparisons start to come into play... I feel like the momo buns are too diff to compare to traditional gua baos. These are more like gua baos made fancier. I feel like both of us are individuals who would splurge on fancy dim sum once in a while and enjoy the fact that it's baller. This is like that, with a diff food group.

  • Did you really just say you "hate communists"? That's good to know. I also didn't realize you are from the 1950s.

    PS: I want.

  • @Jonathan,

    haha, I am McCarthy! actually i really don't care what the commies do. They are kind of into an idea that's against human nature though... how can everyone suppress their desire for more stuff? There's way too many present-hedonists in this world for people to live in a communistic society.

  • You know, I never actually thought about how contradictory the name was until you wrote about it. In a way, it's kind of a slap in the face to Taiwanese culture, given Taiwan's past with the KMT etc...

    What bothers me more is the fact that somehow being in NYC makes it justifiable to charge $4 for something that Taiwanese consider little more than a snack. Sure, it uses Berkshire pork belly, but isn't that really just a gimmick (who can tell the difference in the quality of FAT)? Anyway, one of the main reasons why it's loved in Taiwan is because of it's almost 'blue collar' street identity. By pegging it as something fancy, you're stripping it of it's charm, then by charging 4x the Taiwanese price (yes, an unfair comparison), you're basically committing highway robbery. I realize that it's a business, but it just seems oh.so.wrong.

    /end rant

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