July 31, 2022

Bao Shih Yi - A Michael Shum Discovery

 Do you have a favorite place that you absolutely love regardless of people's reviews and ratings? To me, Bao Shi Yi 包十一 is such a precious place that I love even more each time I visit. Bao means Bun, and Shi Yi, Eleven, can you guess the story behind the name?

On Saturday mornings, after dropping off father-in-law for his acupuncture session, we like to take a break and have some Chinese breakfast at Bao Shi Yi. The place is always lively with Chinese patrons on weekend mornings. The place is small but bright and charming. 

I always order their Organic Soy Milk 有机豆浆 because it's the best in town to me, a welcoming beverage to start the meal off properly. They offer Tofu Pudding 豆花 in three options, Salty, Sweet, and Mala Spicy 咸、甜、麻辣. The Sweet Tofu Flower is so silky and delicate that it almost slides off my tongue. It's so enjoyable and fun to have the almost weightless pudding swirls in my mouth before it smoothly glides down. The sweetness level is at the sweet spot for Asian sensibility.

Another perennial favorite of ours is Porridge with Preserved Egg and Lean Meat 皮蛋瘦肉粥, which is a recommended house specialty. It's the ultimate comfort food, with complex flavored Preserved Egg and savory Lean Pork slices, in a container of hot porridge that makes our tummies warm and happy.

The most satisfactory thing to order to accompany the two items mentioned above is Chinese Donut - 鸡蛋油条. The Chinese label implies that Eggs are incorporated into their dough, which explains why it smells and tastes so much better. YouTiao literally translates as Oily Sticks, it's crunchy on the outside and chewy inside, and makes my mouth greasy biting into it, but the oil they used to fry it is clean tasting, so befitting its name and executed perfectly by the restaurant. Their YouTiao is my top favorite in town, no other places wow me as much.

I would never expect to find the best Cantonese style Juicy Cha Siu Buns 爆汁叉烧包 here at a mostly Mainland style Chinese restaurant, but they beat other Dim Sum places in town for me. The skin has the right density and fluffiness when served hot, filled with juicy Cha Siu bites inside. When I take a bite into this childhood favorite Bun of mine, I can taste sweet and savory, delivered in a white spongy bun that's like heaven in my mouth.

Their style of food is not for everyone, but to me, it doesn't matter at all, I love Bao Shi Yi. It's comforting, tasting, and homely to me. Their food gives me a sense of familiarity and solace that is unbeatable. I'm already looking forward to my next visit. Has anyone figured out the answer to the meaning of their name yet? I'm also open to suggestions as to where I can find similar breakfast places. Please share if you have a favorite. — at Bao Shi Yi  Bun House 包十一.

Special Note: There are two locations. My friends and I believe that the Bellaire Blvd. location is superior to the Kirby location. - Jay

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