Bao Power! Or, For The Love Of Buns

They're not just for dim sum anymore: Chinese buns, made popular by the rise of elevated Asian cuisine, are taking the food scene by storm. The fact that crispy hunks of pork belly or tender, juicy pork shoulder shreds or thick slices of sweet, succulent char-siu pork often find their way in (oh, there's also pork fat in the bun dough) really only serves to fan the flames of our love for innovative swine-based sandwiches.

They're not difficult to make yourself, as an added bonus. If you go into mass bao production and freeze a few dozen, you'll have buns for months. Bao take very kindly to all manners of leftovers, especially roast chicken with cucumbers and scallions, topped with a squirt of that enchanting red devil, sriracha. Do we hear impressive little scrambled egg breakfast sliders?

Whether encased in dough like a dumpling or tucked in the flap of a fluffy, pillowy bun, bao, be it meat or vegetable (or pork) has as many variations as the day is long. But try the pork.