To battle the unforgiving cold, LA nights, my life would much happier (and warmer) if I could just get my hands around a 'hoku-hoku, atsu-atsu' (steaming hot) nikuman (Japanese for char siu bao).
The Japanese version is a little different in that it is about the size of a small child's head and filled with a melange of pork, vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, slivers of ginger, and vermicelli noodles. They are easy to find in the 7-11s and other convenience stores in Japan, alongside the katsu sandwiches and pre-made onigiris.
In Boston, I had my share of the steamed buns from the Chinese bakeries, and they all seemed to have the pork filling with half a boiled egg. Delicious, but definitely heavy.
Lately I've been picking up some steamed pork buns from Din Tai Fun, but they're oh-so-tiny. And only filled with pork, a bit of garlic, and green onions. (Side note: for sesame fans, the steamed buns with the black sesame paste filling is excellent! The paste is slightly grainy and not too overly sweet.)
Can I find freshly-made nikuman anywhere in LA, or do I have to pester my mother to make them for me?? Or does anybody know of Chinese bakeries that have buns with similiar fillings?