You cannot not totally immerge yourself into a culture until you show a genuine appreciation of the food, its origin and the art of eating it!
The real Hainan Kopi Tiam that I am accustomed to growing up, produces 3 kind of buns; Big Bao, Char Siew Ba & To Sa Bao (bean curd bun).
For your information:
- We, The Hainan dialect invented Kopi Tiam
- We, The Hainan invented Bao, not the Shanghainese.
In the spirit of focusing on the topic, I digress to discuss any further beyond this mention. Century old myth will now be confronted head on once and for all; To Peel or Not to Peel.
No, the Shifu who makes the bread do not use their saliva as part of the ingredient to make the skin of the bun. Even if saliva is part of the ingredient, peeling of the skin will not solve the problem. Not eating the bread entirely, does. Perhaps, that (the chef’s saliva) is what makes Pao tastier than the best McDonalds Burger any time of the day.
From a totally non bias point of view, the texture of the bao (skin off) do indeed taste a lot softer and delicate, taking the dining experience to a whole other level. Scientifically, the risk of having heartburn due to indigestion reduces significantly without the skin (just ask Dr. Alan!).
The reason why my view is non bias is that, 1/ it is my blog. 2/ I determine if my view point is bias or not.
Disclaimer #1: I have never eaten a Bao that is not peeled growing up, worrying there some element of spits on the skin. I wish I could I brainwash myself into being a non believer.
Why Not to Peel?
In all fairness towards this sacred topic, I can’t say for my fellow Asians who eat the bao skin on, because I’ve never tried it. The most ridiculous argument I came across on this topic is that, it is good for the environment that you do not waste the skin! Is that all you non peeler could come up with?
Perhaps you have a say to this…
- For those who have no idea what I am ranting about, please come to Brunei! The legendary Hing Nam Foong, 60 years old Kopi Tiam in Kuala Belait (1hour from the Capital city, BSB), makes the best Bao! Mention my name, mention this blog, and get your Bao for free*.
- If it doesn’t work, they do not accept credit card, but at B$0.80 per big Bao, B$0.60 Char Siew Bao and B$0.50 To Sa Bao, you wouldn’t hold my words accountable to this, or would you?
• Disclaimer #2 – Do not ask me how a To Sa Bao tastes. I’ve no idea. I’m a carnivorous. That means, if there’s no meat…. count me out.
• Is there any taker on turning the Bao into the next McDonald’s Dynasty? I’ve even thought of some cool business names:
- Dragon Bao
- Bao King
- Bao Pah
• This article is NOT inspired by the following sorbent advert, despite of its striking similarlity in the genesis of the thought. I present to you one of my all time favourite ads in Asutralia: here