Generally, the word “bao” conjures up the soft, pillowy, fist-sized steamed pork dumplings that crowd dim sum carts from coast to coast. It does not, in general, have anything to do with a sandwich.
The folks at Dumpling have turned this analysis on its head with their Fried Chicken Bao ($12) a banh mi-esque spin on the dish that uses a big, chewy-yet-yielding oval-shaped steamed bun as a vehicle for flat, juicy, crispy pieces of fried chicken, tomatoes, pickles, and a tangy mayo sauce. The combination of bun-plus-meat-plus-sauce-plus-pickles is an old classic for many obvious reasons, but there’s nothing at all boring about it in this context: this sandwich is a gorgeous combination of tart, tangy, soft, crunchy, meaty and crispy that makes it highly entertaining and downright delicious. It’s a no-fail concept executed with love and care, and that makes it worth seeking out—and celebrating.
The Dish: Fried Chicken Bao, $12
The Place: Dumpling, 4004 Minnehaha Avenue South, Minneapolis
The Reason: Perfect balance and a bao bun to die for make this sandwich a meal to remember.
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