Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meal in the City: "Meatball Siopao and Cold Milk Tea" from Chowking, Tomas Morato

There are cravings, and then there are cravings.

In this recent case, I'd found myself in dire want of some good old-fashioned 燒包, or siopao. That's what we Filipinos call 包子, or baozi, those wonderful steamed filled buns that they have so many variations on both in China and here.

So when I found myself early at work this week, I decided I'd better nip over to a Chinese fast-food place and pick up something to satisfy my siopao need.

The fast-food place is called Chowking and it's damn popular in my country. My breakfast consists of a meatball-filled siopao and a regular serve of cold milk tea with ice and tea jelly cubes, something that Chowking calls "nai cha".

Around these parts the most popular type of siopao is still the one with "asado" in it, or what Chinese folk might call 叉烧包, char siu bao. But I'm one of those other people who vastly prefer meatball siopao, partly because the meat is a pretty neat single entity that won't flake out or spill from the bun, and partly because Chowking's version is so nice (containing both Chinese sausage and part of a salted egg).

And of course, there's me and my absolute love for milk tea. I like the Chowking version but wish that sometimes they didn't put too much ice in it. I love the tea jelly bits in the bottom, though.

The idea of this being a "breakfast of champions" gains some sort of heavenly/legendary humor when I read that it was none other than Zhuge Liang himself who invented these things.

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