National Bao Day is coming!

...now how aBAOt that? (You know we love our puns here at Occasionalish!)
It's National Bao Day on August 22nd—that's this coming Saturday—and we are SO excited to celebrate (and eat) this dimsum essential.

Bao (or baozi) have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, but in case you have never had the pleasure of trying one, here is a quick rundown.
 
baozi steamed buns in a metal steamer tray
image © evgeni zotov

Bao is a Chinese dimsum item that comes in many forms, but in essence, is a pastry that consists of bread on the outside and some kind of filling on the inside. The filling can range from BBQ pork to mushrooms, to leafy green veggies, to shrimp, to soup, to custard, to red bean jam—you name it. The name "bao" literally means "to wrap" in Chinese—a food that is wrapped in bread. They are (usually) cute and round and almost as beautiful to look as they are good to eat (but I definitely recommend eating all your bao).

molten egg yolk bun (liu sha bao)
image © joy @ the cooking of joy

My personal favorite is called 流沙包 (liu sha bao), or in English, molten lava bun. It is filled with delicious, creamy custard and salted egg yolk. And because it is served piping hot, the filling is liquid and can flow out of the bun if you're not careful, hence the name "molten lava bun." Such a perfect mix of flavors! The fragrant but unassuming outer bun, the sweet rich taste of the custard, the savory and salty taste of the egg yolk—to me, that is true dimsum perfection.
 
Occasionalish bao keychain and enamel pinimage and design © occasionalish

And because I am such a huge fan of bao, I included a bao design in my latest collection too! Have you had a chance to check it out yet? I designed my bao enamel pin and keychain to be a set of three steamed bao resting in a bamboo steamer (called zhenglong in Chinese).

I didn't know until this year that there is a National day to celebrate this awesome food. But now that I know, I am definitely going to eat some bao today! I hope you get to have some as well! It's difficult to have a traditional dimsum meal during this time, but if you have an Asian food specialty store near you, try checking out their frozen section to see if they have any in stock.
Happy eating and Happy National Bao Day!

Occasional bao keychain
image and design © occasionalish