Mini steam buns, as big as a clementine, stuffed with interesting fillings, sold like hotcakes at a mini store inside the Bellaire Hong Kong Mall. Well, they are essentially hot cakes after all.
TP Banh Bao have many kinds of banh bao, but most were sold out by midday when we got there. We were lucky enough to get 3 different kinds: seafood (đồ biển), taro and pork (khoai môn thịt), and original, i.e. pork and chinese sausage (thập cẩm). However, we couldn’t tell which was which. They put them in the same box, no marking, the bun skin and the innards looked the same for all three kinds. They also tasted the same. Good, but indistinguishable.
On the door is an exciting advertisement of their specials: deep fried banh bao and deboned chicken wings, but few seem to come here for those. I’d imagine even fewer would come here for bun bo Hue, mi Quang, chao long (offal porridge) and chao ca (fish porridge). It’d be just as funny if McDonald serves spaghetti.
A box of 9 banh bao sets back your bank anywhere between $7 -14. Although a little pricey, these bite-size buns make a reasonable, savory but not so fatty snack, maybe breakfast if you eat three or four. I’m curious about the sweet kinds, with mung bean paste and either coconut or durian.
Address: T.P. Banh Bao (inside HongKong Mall, near Banh Cuon Tay Ho #18)
11209 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77072
While you’re in the Hong Kong Mall area, check out the butter-fried soft shell crab at Tay Do restaurant.