I like big buns, and I cannot lie

Whenever I visit my folks, I am guaranteed a weekend of endless eating.  Since I have been calorically deficient of late (not on purpose), my body was very thankful for this recent trip home.

Aside from the home cooking and good laughs, the highlight of these visits are adventures to the International Market to restock my Asian food supply.  Oh, how I wish a market of this caliber existed closer to my current city.

I bring a cooler, several reusable grocery totes, and a large grocery tote with wheels so I can better haul stuff back with me.  I never know when I’ll be able to go home again, so I really overdo it.

My uncle always takes samples, ignoring the large sign that clearly says No sampling.  He sneaked a preserved plum in my hand.  I panicked, looked around, and popped it in my mouth.  What else could I do at that point?

Some big wins during this shopping adventure include:

– Cafe du Monde chicory coffee for $3.99 per tin.  It was advertised as $4.99 but rang up less.  I have never seen it so cheap!  So I bought three, giddily clutching them in my greedy hands.

– 5 lb bag of peeled garlic cloves for $3.99 (split with Mom)

– English cucumbers, 2/$1.00

– Lettuces, 2 heads/$1.00

– Asparagus, 1 lb/$1.29

– Packs of grape tomatoes, 2/$1.00

Outrageous prices, right?

Then I stumbled across a bun shop.  Stop. Everything.

I was mesmerized by the bun-making efficiency of this lady’s hands.

Mom used to make salapao (as they are called in Laos/Thailand) all the time when I was a kid.  It traditionally contains pork, clear vermicelli, a variety of shredded veggies, and a quarter of an egg.  All steamed in a delicious bun.  But since I don’t eat pork, I’ve had to find vegetarian alternatives.

The last time I ate vegetable salapao, it was from a 7-Eleven in Chiang Mai.  I ate those things like they were going out of style.  I would clean out one store and move on to the next (which isn’t hard, considering there are at least two on every block there).  It was like noodles or sandwiches here in the States – if given the choice, I would choose 7-Eleven salapao over street vendor food 9 out of 10 times.  That’s not to say street food isn’t amazing, but that’s another story.

Now that I have found a bun place in my state, why is it 4+ hours from me??  My mission in life is two-fold: 1) find a closer bun shop; 2) learn how to make buns.

In the meantime, DP and I shall feast for a week on nothing but Thai/Lao cuisine!  As I write this, he just finished off 10 tofu spring rolls.

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9 thoughts on “I like big buns, and I cannot lie”

  1. LOL…”I like big buns, and I cannot lie.” I prefer petite buns myself, like the ones you get from dim sum restaurants (Mmm… dim sum…), but I get the fascination over big buns. And where is this bun shop? Why is your mom so lucky? First she gets to go to the farmers’ market where they sell limes for cheap. I remember you telling us about it. Then, she gets to go to big buns shop whenever she wants. Lucky! 🙂

    1. The wonderful thing about petite buns is that you can eat a large variety of them before you get full. It’s kind of how I feel about sushi…eating a little bit of a lot of things can be exciting. Big buns are best when the dough is fluffy, which these were. Oh, man…I ate my last one for lunch and I’m going through withdrawals. 😦

      My mom shops at Mega Mart, Super H, and Great Wall. Do any of these exist where you live? If so, even if it is an hour or two away, I must insist you make a trip.

      1. No, none! Btw, did you know that I dragged my poor hubby to the nearest Asian market (half hour away) immediately after reading your post, in search of steamed buns? They were out! But I got some frozen ones. And I ate 3 out of six! Who cares, I’m happy now! 🙂

      2. Oh, yes. Ngan R. and I are going to figure out this bun thing. She is trying a dough recipe first, then she’s letting me know how it goes.

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