The Humble Baozi is a Must Eat in Shanghai

On this recent trip to China, I was happy to still be able to find street food in Shanghai.  Even in more affluent areas, I could wander down an alley and find delicious, cheap food of questionable cleanliness.

One type of place that’s easy to spot is the baozi (bun) stand, thanks to the stacks of giant steamers.  The good ones have people crowded around them in the morning like this one across the street from where we were staying.

Unless it’s a fancier type place, don’t bother queueing since an older Chinese person is just going to elbow their way in front of you anyway.  Just figure out 1.) what filling you want, 2.) how many you want, and 3.) how much money to hand the vendor before wrangling your way to the front of the steamers.

It’s hard to find good savory baozi in the US because they’re often pre-made or frozen and realistically, nothing will taste as good as a bun that’s still steaming straight from the bamboo steamer.  The buns I got in China were still white and fluffy, but the bread part was less sweet and the filling was more textured.  My favorite is the mei cai rou bao, which is a baozi filled with dried pickled cabbage and ground pork — I ate plenty of those.

I also ate a couple of baozi with a pickled green bean and pork filling. The green beans tasted like chopped up versions of the spicy and sour green beans that often show up as cold appetizers in Chinese restaurants in the US. There was only a sprinkling of pork for flavor, but that was enough. The combination of hot and tangy in the morning may be too much for some, but I’d imagine it’s a great hangover cure.

For the vegans, there’s the ubiquitous xiangu baozi which is filled with usually filled with chopped shiitake, baked tofu, and lightly pickled green vegetables.  Usually, other than a sweet filling, this is the only vegan option.

On one morning, I decided to branch out from my usual stand to a different one across the street that was attached to a larger, more formal restaurant.  It had the same amount of people lining up in front of it, so I thought it would be safe, but it turned out to be a disappointment. The baozi didn’t taste as good and the filling was cold.  This just cements my bias that the smaller baozi stands are more delicious.

Where to Eat in Austin: Jester King Brewery & Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza

When a friend asked if I could pick up a few bottles of beer for him if I happen to be at Jester King Brewery, I was initially doubtful. I hadn’t planned on visiting the brewery and didn’t even know it existed, but after a few quick searches, it became a place I knew I had to visit while I was in Austin.

Jester King Brewery is a 25 minute drive from the city center, through beautiful, rolling, Texas hill country.  One may think it’s another one of those trendy breweries boasting of farmhouse beers, but this brewery is actually in a farmhouse. They have a variety of beers, some more suited to my taste than others, but all of them are available to drink in small sample sizes.

The Lana without cheese @stanleysfarmhousepizza

Right next to Jester, in another farmhouse-like structure is Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza.  Their brick oven pizza is of the thinner-crust variety and pretty damn good.  They have non-Jester beers on tap if you’re looking for something different.

The Penelope @stanleysfarmhousepizza

While the beer and the pizza are both great, what makes them even better is the idyllic setting.  There are picnic tables and benches scattered throughout the property whether you want to sit under a roof, or under a canopy of trees, or under the sun.  The wide open space and scattered cornhole games is perfect for a lazy afternoon eating pizza and drinking beer.  It’s even kid and dog friendly.

Could not ask for a better way to spend the afternoon!

So after my friend introduced me to this place, I thought it only fitting that I bring back a couple of bottles for him. And of course I couldn’t help bringing a few bottles home for myself.


Jester King Brewery
13187 Fitzhugh Rd
Austin, TX 78736
(512) 537-5100

Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza
Ceres Park Ranch
13187 Fitzhugh Rd
Austin, TX 78736

Where to Eat in Austin: Baton Creole

The food trailer utopia of Austin can be overwhelming to navigate because of all the different options.  Fortunately, we were limited on two criteria: it had to be delicious, and it had to have vegan food.  I forgot how, I stumbled upon it, but once I read that Baton Creole had vegan beignets, I knew that we had to visit.

Beignets that happen to be #vegan @batoncreole

The beignets aren’t marketed as being vegan — they just happen to be so. Straight out of the fryer and dusted with ample powdered sugar is the best way to enjoy them.  There’s not much to say about the beignets other than it’s as delicious as fried dough ever is.


What was a pleasant surprise was the savory food offered by this trailer.  The trailer had me at vegan jambalaya, but then I noticed it was also deep fried.  What the heck? What came out was both delicious and unique.  The jambalaya was battered, stuck on a stick, and deep fried to a crispy shell perfection with a soft, hot, sticky interior.  The rice and spicy tofu filling worked really well in this deep-fried form.  Another plus was that it looked appetizing.

The people working in this trailer are super nice and friendly and just a pleasure to talk to, which really made our meal stand out.

Baton Creole (food trailer)
907 E 6th St, (actually in the trailer park on 6th & Wallter st)
Austin, TX 78702