Steamed barbecue pork buns (char siu bao) really need no introduction since it may well be “the classic” dim sum item. Small pieces of tender, sweet Chinese barbecue pork are stuffed inside a soft steamed wheat bun. The bun itself should have a dry surface, a hint of sweetness, and a delicate, fluffy and somewhat chewy texture. The baked version of barbecue pork buns is quite different but equally delicious.
I use this dish as one of standards for comparing the quality of dim sum restaurants.
Warning! These placid-looking buns can be lethal: I’ve seen dim sum virgins get addicted to dim sum after eating these buns. It’s usually a good idea to order enough dishes so that everyone in your party can have a whole bun. These buns will quickly dry out when kept in the refrigerator so it’s best to eat them fresh.