Chinese steamed buns have been around for thousands of years, with archaeological evidence of their existence as early as 700 BC. The Chinese had learned to use a grain mill to create wheat flour used to make steamed buns, known in general as “mantou” in the Shanghai region or “bao zi” in northern areas. Steamed buns are created in two ways; in northern China they use a natural starter dough for fermentation, while in southern China it is more common to ferment the flour with yeast. Starter dough creates a stickier and more dense bun, while yeast-fermented buns are softer and more similar to a bread consistency.
In Chinese culture the steamed bun is eaten at any meal, but is particularly favored as a breakfast food. They are normally filled with meat or sweets, but can also be eaten plain. A common way to prepare meat-filled buns is to pleat the flour at the top, giving them their characteristic look. Sweet-filled buns are often pleated at the bottom, creating a smooth dome look on the top of the bun. Both types of buns are proofed at less than 100 degrees F for an hour or so, then steamed for 15-20 minutes prior to serving.
Tullulah’s offers a selection of steamed buns on our happy hour menu Monday-Friday from 3-6 PM. Our selection includes:
Pork belly steamed buns using an orange-chili marmalade glazed pork belly, scallions, crushed peanuts, and pickled vegetables
Shrimp steamed buns with Old Bay spiced shrimp and lemon aioli
Fried chicken steamed buns with crispy chicken thighs, sriracha aioli, and house-made pickles
Duck confit steamed buns with mango and red pepper relish and frisee
Vegetable pakora buns with baby broccoli curry tempura and apple cider gastrique
If steamed buns aren’t your thing, we also offer hand-cut truffle fries with white truffle oil and manchego. Yum!
Stop by Tullulah’s for happy hour and our selection of steamed buns, or come back anytime and enjoy our eclectic and delicious brunch, lunch, or dinner menus and our great selection of cocktails. We are open every day from 11-3 for lunch and starting at 5:00 PM for dinner. See you soon at Tullulah’s!