"Call Mr. Siopao, that's my name. That name again is Mr. Siopao." I wish to apologize for the early Simpson's reference (Mr. Plow) but I couldn't help myself. Mr. Siapao is a Filipino couple working out of The Core Kitchen in Langley. CK is a shared commercial kitchen where you can also find The Biryani Chef and Dipped Donut Co and I'm not even sure who else. There is no dining room and no front counter. You need to get in contact, place your order and arrange a pickup time. A little complicated but worth the effort.
Siopao is the Filipino version of a steamed meat (or other) bun of which there are similar versions in Chinese, Vietnamese and other southeast Asian cuisines. They are a wheat and rice flour simple bun stuffed with whatever filling you like, the most common being pork or chicken asado. They are a filling, comforting and tasty snack and we are fairly impressed with what Mr. Siopao is turning out!
Not much to look at from the outside, the special part comes with your first bite.
On our first try, we ordered a dozen of the carnivorous variety for a reasonable price of $36. We had to compare them side by side with our previous go-to for Siopao namely, New Town Bakery. We found them to be very similar but there was a fair bit more filling and less dough in the New Town versions. In all fairness, while Mr. Siopao charges $3 per bun while New Town's prices are up to $3.50 each for the chicken and pork asado and $4.25 for the bola bola ( the sausage and egg in the photo above). Still, these are pretty good siopao.
Next time around, we tried all the non-meat buns and they have a good selection. These were $28 a dozen so very reasonable. Pictured above are Ube (purple yam and a classic Filipino flavour), Red Bean and Coconut (our favourite). Mharie felt like the ube and red bean could have been sweeter (she does have a sweet tooth, to be honest) but I liked them all.
In this photo, you see Mung Bean Pandan, Taro and Mushroom Veggie. I think the mushroom veggie might be my favourite of all. Taro is a bit of an acquired taste and has always reminded me of Hawaiian poi. The mung bean was quite flavourful.
Siopao is a favourite among Filipinos and Mr. Siopao does a pretty good job and is reasonably priced. We are big fans of people who start cottage industries and fill a community need. For non-Filipinos, you may wonder what the fuss is about but give them a try and if they are not warm when you get them home, try a little bit of slow microwaving. You may find that there is something really good and unique to be enjoyed. Check out their Instagram for sure as their preparation pictures will make your mouth water.
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