Friday, September 16, 2011

The Baowry

The Baowry is located in the St. John's neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. They are an Asian-fusion food cart, taking those wonderful flavors from the East and meshing them with Western ingredients for a pleasant experience.

Dining experience at a food cart? Sure. An awning and several tables here.
Regular menu (as of September 2011).
They also run a few specials.
I arrived a few minutes before noon on a Saturday. I waited around for several minutes before they officially opened for business. I ordered their Pork Bao ($7): two Chinese steamed buns stuffed with pulled pork, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. It came with a side of kimchi, rice (topped with a ginger/scallion concoction), and a tossed salad with a garlic-miso-sweet chili dressing

Pork Bao plate (The Baowry)
Yes, I eat with my eyes first. Such colorful food on a plate. Almost too good to eat -- almost.

The pork is cured for 24 hours, then slow-roasted in the oven until fork tender. The juicy pork coated the inside of my mouth with tender loving care. I'd say it was quite close to proper kalua pig consistency (a huge compliment coming from me). The cilantro and pickled vegetables reaffirmed the robust Asian flavors; those ingredients will also appear on a Vietnamese banh mi (which the Baowry also sells).

The steamed, fluffy bao itself was good. It's fine that they get the bao from a local bakery. It's just that I love it more when food establishments make their food from scratch. It was also a struggle to eat my meal. I picked up that bao to eat like a taco (heck, it really is a Chinese taco anyway), but the bao fell apart under the pressure of all that pork/vegetable filling. Nothing a fork couldn't fix, though.

The ginger-scallion topping elevated what would otherwise be pedestrian rice. Something so simple, yet I never thought of doing that. As for the salad, I loved the addition of apples (probably Fuji apples) to the salad for extra sweetness and crunch. The dressing on the salad provided the proper balance of sweet, bitter, and "umami" (miso is an excellent source of the coveted fifth taste). Heck, I'd take a whole large container of the salad (w/dressing) and pork in a heartbeat.

The people running this food cart also makes their own sweet chili garlic sauce. It was good -- although the first thing that came to mind was that it tasted like ketchup. The sauce goes extremely well with the pork bao.

Homemade Sweet Chili Garlic sauce!
If you happen to be near the St. John's neighborhood of Portland, check out the Baowry. They take advantage of explosive Asian flavors to bring customers flavorful, hearty dishes! 7.75/10

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