For every type of cuisine, certain items are universally known such as pizza, croissants, sushi and perogies. When we narrow it down to Chinese food in Richmond, it comes as no surprise that the good ol’ BBQ pork bun might be one of the most popular mainstays. It comes in all forms, whether it be baked, steamed or topped with a pineapple bun crust. Recently, I was on a mission to find the best baked BBQ pork bun in Richmond. I stuck with bakeries and didn’t include dim sum restaurants because I would be still eating BBQ pork buns while I write this since there are almost 40 dim sum restaurants in Richmond!
My first stop of the day was at Saint Germain Bakery in Aberdeen Centre. They are well-known from their carefully crafted cakes and baked products, so it was predictable that their BBQ pork bun was pretty good. It featured a mix of fatty and lean slices of pork that was more savoury than sweet. There was a good bun-to-meat ratio, although the bun itself was slightly chewy and on the drier side.
From there, it was a visit to New Town Bakery and their giant buns. Yes, their BBQ pork bun was by far the largest in physical size. Inside, there was a wealth of lean pork that was more on the saltier soy-flavoured side that worked well with the sweet glaze on top of the bun. There was a robust depth-of-flavour that I found impactful. I found the bun a little dry, but that was okay, since there was so much filling.
Things began to go a bit downhill with the BBQ pork bun at Anna’s Cake House in Lansdowne Centre. It was physically heavy and also ate as such. There was a considerable amount of bun that was soft and somewhat wet. The lean pork filling was in a weird shade of red that I didn’t find particularly appetizing. I also found the pork mostly sweet, and combined with the sweet bun, the flavours were not distinct. I could also taste some sweet onion in the background as well.
From heavy to completely airy, the BBQ pork bun at Maxim’s appeared to have air pockets within the bun itself. The result was an overly light and dry bun with a wet bottom. Inside, the pork was lean and tender, but there seemed to be a lack of seasoning where all I could taste was the natural meat flavour. Strangely, compared to the one at New Town, it was as if I didn’t eat anything with this bun.
Well at least Maxim’s had filling because the one at Pine House could’ve been renamed the diet BBQ pork bun. If you look at it, it was almost as if there was no bun. When I did get some, I thought the bun was chewy and a bit dry. As mentioned, there was a lack of BBQ pork filling which meant this barely qualified to be in this article. The little filling that did make it in the bun was mostly salty.
Things ended off strong though with the big and heavy bun from Kam Do. This was served warm which meant the bun was moist and a touch wet. I found the bun dense and chewy, yet not in a negative manner. They were definitely not shy with the fat content as it was aromatic and buttery. There was plenty of lean BBQ pork that was balanced between salty and sweet.
So if you read this article closely and didn’t just look at the photos only (admit it, you do that!), it is pretty obvious that the two best BBQ pork buns were from New Town and Kam Do. I think it can be pretty subjective as to which one would be your favourite because some people might actually like a lighter bun with less filling. But for me, it was all about the one at New Town because it combined the best qualities of a baked BBQ pork bun.