By Ling-Mei Wong
Stuffed buns or “baozi” are deceptively simple: ground pork encased in a chewy flour bun. And yet they are tricky to get right.
Too much fat in the meat makes a bun too heavy, while overworking the flour dough results in a tough bun. The pork also needs to be seasoned just right to balance out the blandness of the bun. Too often, buns have a strange aftertaste. Either the meat hasn’t been seasoned properly or the bun has a suspicious chemical taste from the rising agent intended to speed up the yeast. Sadly, there are few places with authentic northern Chinese buns.
Meng’s Kitchen gets stuffed buns right. The pork bun ($1) is filled with tasty pork mixed with crisp cabbage, fresh ginger and a hint of spice. Meng’s bun is fluffy without a mouth-drying aftertaste. It’s fitting that the food truck’s Chinese name is “Tianjin stuffed buns” for a taste of true northern Chinese cuisine.
The “rou jia mo” or meat sandwich ($2.50) features a “mo” pita pocket full of sliced pork, scallions and sweet bean sauce. It’s not as memorable as the stuffed buns, but quite satisfying with the generous helping of spiced meat and fresh cilantro. This is great street food that travels well, albeit with the odd slice of meat escaping the flatbread pocket.
Meng’s Kitchen just rolled onto the Boston food truck scene last week; the truck itself has yet to be wrapped. Presently the truck is white, but should be getting a gleaming update early November.
It presently serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 .m. on Mondays to Fridays, with lunch until 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, at the corner of Washington and Boylston Streets. A website will go online soon.
Delivery is available for orders over $30.
If you happen to be at the China Trade Center in the morning, be sure to grab a bun from Meng’s Kitchen.
This post is also available in: Chinese