Monday, 12 September 2011

Bakpao (Steamed Buns), Jakarta's Street Food

It's been a while since the last time I ate these buns.
Steamed buns cart

It's been more than 1 year I haven't had the steamed buns from street carts.

As usual, don't expect anything fancy from this street food. The cart is so simple, but you can distinguish the bakpao carts from the other carts by noticing the buns display and the aluminum steamer. Or maybe it's other kind of metal. But you get the idea right?

And that's pretty much what this cart has. Buns display and a steamer. Like I said, nothing special. But for me, everytime I buy buns or bakpao from this street cart, I don't just buy the bun. I also buy the homey and familiar feeling, resulting from my childhood memories.

I remember perfectly that in my childhood, I used to see this kind of cart passing by my house, and I often stop it to buy one, or maybe two, warm steamed buns or bakpao. I also remember that my mom used to buy the buns for my breakfast before school sometimes. Now I can only meet this buns cart at only a few places, as it never passes by my home anymore.

There are only two kinds of buns offered here, chicken buns or black bean buns. The black bean ones are marked with pink dots on the top, while the chicken ones are plain. My fav used to be the chicken ones, but for some reason my love for black bean buns has grown so big, I can't resist them everytime I encounter this buns cart.

Buns in the steamer

Now for a bit of the history, bakpao or steamed buns are traditional snack of Chinese. Literally, bak means meat, while pao means wrap. So actually bakpao means wrapped meat, although nowadays there are a lot of buns with various fillings.

Here's my fav one, the black bean bun. It's not like the best bakpao ever, but it's warm and it smells good.

Black bean bun

The bun-filling ratio is still reasonable, although more fillings will do this bun a real good. The black bean filling smells good too, and it's not overly sweet.

Black bean bun innards

A small pack of chilli sauce always comes with the chicken bun. The last time I ate this, I noticed that the minced chicken inside has lessened. I remember that the chicken used to be a bit bigger than that. I ended up eating just the chicken and a bit of the bun. Another reason to stick to the black bean ones. Having said that, I think the chicken is okay and tasty enough.

Chicken bun

Obviously we cannot compare these kind of buns with the high quality ones. But as I said, I love the familiar feeling I get from buying warm buns from the humble cart.

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  1. Those buns look so big! It would be wonderful to buy food from a street cart like that.

  2. they are big, but maybe my pictures make them look a little bit bigger than they're supposed to be lol. indeed!


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