The Battle of the Bao
Known as the “Taiwanese hamburger,” the gua bao is becoming a global street food superstar.
Night markets all around Taiwan are filled with cheap and tasty snacks that are real crowd-pleasers. People are willing to wait in long lines for pearl milk tea, oyster omelettes, green onion pancakes, and even stinky tofu. But there is one type of street food in Taiwan that has really been growing in popularity: gua bao. These delicious pork belly buns have coriander and peanut powder on top. Gua baos may not be the star of night markets in Taiwan, but they are becoming popular around the world.
臺灣各地的夜市都充滿便宜可口的小吃，它們總讓大批群眾吃得樂開懷。人們願意大排長龍買珍珠奶茶、蚵仔煎、蔥油餅，甚至是臭豆腐。然而有一種臺灣路邊攤小吃的人氣正扶搖直上 —— 割包。這種美味的豬肉夾餡包（割包）上面加了香菜和花生粉。割包也許未必是臺灣夜市的首席巨星，但卻在全球變得越來越受歡迎。
The key to a delicious gua bao is a perfectly steamed bun. It should be soft and fluffy but just solid enough to hold the ingredients inside so it isn’t too messy to eat. The pork must melt in the mouth. To achieve this, it is cooked for at least two hours. The peanut powder must be spread evenly so that it’s tasted in every bite. Also, there must not be too many pickled mustard greens. The best gua bao has a balanced taste of salty, sweet, and a bit sour.