Unless you are a vegetarian, the thought of a thick, juicy slab of slow-cooked, three-layered pork belly snuggled between fluffy, steaming hot buns should send your salivary glands into overdrive. Known locally as Kong Bak Pau, (扣肉包) its popularity has waned somewhat in recent years. Despite attempts by Westlake to make it a trendy street food snack, it never quite caught on here. However, in Taiwan, it’s a different story altogether. There, it’s a wildly popular street food snack, lovingly referred to as Gua Pau (刈包) – the “cut bun” – or Tiger-Bites-Pig (虎咬猪) – a nod to its resemblance to a tiger chomping on a delicious slab of pork.
If Kong Bak Pau hasn’t been on your foodie radar for a while, then it should be after you read this. I have only been acquainted with the local version of this bun until I tried the Taiwanese version at Abundance and I was immediately smitten. This version of Kong Bak Pau is so good that we could very well be on the cusp of another food trend!
Must Try Dishes
What sets the Taiwanese version apart is the addition of ground peanuts and pickled mustard greens. At first, I was skeptical, but my doubts vanished with the first bite. The pickled mustard greens add a delightful acidity that cuts through the richness of the pork, while the ground peanuts contribute a sweet and savory flavor that elevates the sandwich to a whole new level of deliciousness.
The dynamic duo behind the venture are Tan Yuan Xin and Chef Jaz Yew who met while they were working at Din Tai Fung. With one and a half decades spent at Din Tai Fung, Chef Jaz worked his way up to becoming the Head Chef, honing his skills and developing a deep understanding of Taiwanese cuisine along the way. Despite being Malaysian by birth, his years in Taiwan have made him intimately familiar with the nuances o...