Real Bao

Back in the 1990s, we were very hungry secondary school boys experiencing our mega grow spurts. The problem was we had very little money in the pocket. When one is hungry, the only thing on the mind is filling the stomach and kick the hunger pangs off for a while. Nutrition was the last thing on our minds.


It wasn't that we could get very nutritious food in the hawker centres anyway. That was pretty much what we could afford at best. Those days, I could eat a cheeseburger in two big bites so having a meal in one of those fast food centres was a luxurious thing. Hmm, come to think of it, it still is. Shows how much progress Singapore has brought an average citizen like me after all these decades.


Well back to the hungry boys. We reckoned that instead of grabbing a plate of chicken rice that cost $2.00 back then and ended up half hungry, we should pool all our money to buy steamed buns for $0.30 each. And so we did. We totally cleaned out the entire lot of Char Siew Baos in the Clementi kopi tiam we hang around sometimes. The auntie who served us the massive hill of buns in a tray (no plates fit 'em) gave us the look but did we care? We dug in to our buns buffet cheerily. There was even enough change for drinks.


Since the 1990s, for some reasons, Char Siew Baos in Singapore hawker centres and kopi tiam tasted like crap. Some genius decided to change the meat fillings from pork to chicken. Another lot of assholes switched from proper pork fillings to inferior .... whatever crap is that - a mixture of pure lard and whatever nonsense. It was bad enough that meat fillings was changed. They couldn't even be bothered to maintain the colour and taste of the sauce. These days, I would rather eat combat rations than buying a Char Siew Bao from the steam cabinets of kopitiams. Heck, I would rather eat the Char Siew Baos made from cardboard fillings in China. At least they taste and look right. I wish the greedy merchants behind the fall of great tasting affordable Char Siew Baos for the common folks go to hell.


I had to resort to higher end channels such as Tiong Bahru Baos or Dim Sum places to get a taste of half decent Char Siew Baos. To be honest, even some of these disappointed.


Last night Jen decided to make me some Char Siew Baos on first attempt. Do not be deceived by the very amateurish look (above pic) of the buns. For the average bun skin covered the most divine Char Siew fillings I never had in decades. Before I knew it, I emptied half the tray and 4 of these Char Siew Baos fit for the Gods ended in my stomach.


I went to bed rubbing my tummy with a big smile. Life is going to be great.

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