Last year, I checked out Sang-ji Fried Bao and tried the scallion oil noodles and the sang-ji bao (fried soup-filled pork buns). I thought it was tasty enough, but nothing particularly mind-blowing.
Well, I just had the exact same meal at Zheng’s Juicy Fried Buns, and suddenly I’m appreciating Sang-ji Fried Bao so, so much more.
Here’s a one word review of the meal I just had: yikes.
I started with the scallion oil noodles, which tasted like plain instant noodles tossed in a whole bunch of soy sauce (and a buttload of oil); it was greasy and one-note salty with absolutely none of the sweet complexity you associate with this dish. The deeply caramelized scallions were present, but they couldn’t do much to fight the face-punch of saltiness from the noodles themselves. It doesn’t help that the undercooked instant noodles were a complete bummer to eat.
The pan-fried buns weren’t much better. The wrapper was thick, gummy and unpleasantly doughy, and the would-be crispy bottom was actually just dry, like a stale cracker. The soupy filling was completely bland (it needed a lot of vinegar to be even remotely edible), and the pork was surprisingly tough and flavourless.
Sang-ji Fried Bao is about two kilometres north of here, and trust me: that’s the one you want. There’s no comparison.