Fast Food Restaurants

Panda Express Is Testing Out Pastrami Bao Buns At Their Innovation Kitchen

It seems Panda Express has been tinkering more and more with fusing flavors of Eastern dishes with Western comfort foods as of late. A few months back, the chain introduced a new protein that combined the traditional flavors of Sichuan peppercorns with the Southern heat of Nashville Hot Chicken.

In what appears to be a delicious trend, Panda Express has announced another new flavor combination that’s hitting their Innovation Kitchen in Pasadena, CA. Feast your eyes on the Pastrami Bao Buns.

The new item combines the popular Taiwanese street food of Pork Belly Bao Buns with the classic American deli staple the Pastrami Sandwich. Pork Belly is slow cooked, Hickory liquid smoked, blended with pastrami spices, and topped with pickled cucumbers before going inside an airy bao bun. Finally, the dish is slathered with a sweet and savory sauce to bring it all together.

Be still my pastrami-loving belly.

You can find this item only at the Panda Express Innovation Kitchen in Pasadena, CA. If popular enough, we can expect to see the Pastrami Bao Buns arrive at restaurants on a national scale. Until then, I’ll need to find some time on my calendar to drive out and try the new dish.


Restaurant Stuffs Their Baos With Cheese To Add An Oozy Richness

The richness that comes from a proper steamed bao is a flavor that I don’t think I would be able to quit. It’s comfort food I’ve grown up with, and still crave to this day. Never once, however, would I have thought to introduce the velvety element of cheese to a bao.

It’s a whole new experience.

RiceBox, a contemporary Cantonese BBQ spot located in Downtown Los Angles’ Spring Arcade, is home to some mouthwatering steamed baos. Baos, a type of dumpling, are filled with various types of meats and cooked in a steamer until the dough expands and becomes airy.

One of RiceBox’s most viral additions to their menu, the cheesy bao is an innovative take on the traditional dumpling.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by foodbeast (@foodbeast) on

These cheesy baos are made with activated charcoal, flour, almond milk and are filled with char siu BBQ pork and Monterey Jack cheese. When cooked, the cheese melts into the pork and oozes out of the bao as soon as you rip into it.

It’s a take I haven’t seen before when it comes to the iconic steamed dish, but a welcome one to anyone with an affinity for melted cheese and sweet, fatty pork.

Rice Box’s owners, Leo and Lydia Lee, are also famous for their hearty porchetta bowls. The crunch that comes from a bite of their porchetta often echos through the walkways of the Spring Arcade.

You can find the cheesy baos and porchetta rice bowls at the DTLA storefront. Their traditional baos are pretty fire as well.

Film/Television Recipes

The Creator Of Pixar’s “Bao” Just Shared Her Mom’s Bao Recipe With The World

Every time I’ve gone to watch The Incredibles 2 this summer, the Pixar short right before it, Bao, has left me in tears. My mom is from Hong Kong, and is the same kind of loving “helicopter parent” that is portrayed in the film.

The short is one that resonates amongst tons of Asian American families, as it was heartwarming and tear-jerking to see director Domee Shi bring that experience to the big screen.

Shi is giving us all another chance to relive that childhood nostalgia, as she just shared her mom’s recipe for the same meat-filled dumplings that were prominent in the film.

The full ingredients and step-by-step cooking instructions were posted on Disney Pixar’s Facebook page, with Shi providing illustrations to supplement her mom’s recipe. Some of the measurements may not be exact, but you’ll still get a whole pile of delicious dumplings to enjoy.

Shi’s recipe may require a few tries to get the whole process right, as the “windmill technique” used to make the roll of dough, and pinching the ends of the bao together, takes a bit of practice.

Creating the perfect bun is just as rewarding as it is delicious, though, and can serve as a reminder of home for those that spent time cooking with their parents.

Cravings What's New

Flamin’ Hot Cheesesteak Baos Are Heatin’ Up Our Appetites

One of the most outside-the-box creations we’ve seen in preparation for the upcoming NOODS NOODS NOODS Asian food festival, presented by Cup Noodles, has got to be these Flamin’ Hot Cheesesteak Baos.

The concept is pretty simple: the insides of a traditional Philly Cheesesteak (beef, onions, peppers , and cheese) are served inside a steamed bun. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is then dusted on the bao like a mighty coat of flamin’ honor.


We were a little apprehensive about such an idea at first, but it totally works.

Created by The Kroft, a Southern California sandwich and poutine spot, the surreal take on the iconic sandwich will be an exclusive menu item at NOODS. If you haven’t picked up  your tickets yet, you can still do so here. Tickets are available for the Marketplace (entrance fee and buy as you go) or VIP (all you can eat and drink).


Bao-ser’s Castle