Generally, I'm not a fan of Asian fusion. To label a place Asian fusion is equivalent to giving it a death sentence - I will never go there. Asian fusion was the code word for Westernized Asian food. So if you love authentic Asian dishes like I do, the bastardized Asian fusion versions represent a step backwards. But lately I've been grappling with places that seem to be less about fusing two different cuisines and more Asian inspired. I started thinking that unless we allow Asian food to evolve in the United States, will authentic Asian dishes be limited to those recipes brought by immigrants to this country? Can true Asian food evolve outside of its native country?
This brings me to Take a Bao. Although there are probably better restaurants to illustrate my point, it recently opened and the thought came to me as I was biting into my Pomegranate Steak bao. I love the traditional Chinese bao filled with bbq pork or chicken. And I've also always liked peking duck where the same bao pancakes hold delicate slices of peking duck skin, with a bit of fresh scallions to cut the richness, and a brushing of hoisin sauce to extend the sweetness. So why not take the bao dough and fill it with other Asian ingredients?
The owners of Take a Bao thought of this concept and ran with it - using Asian inspired ingredients for filling such as miso braised beef, teriyaki chicken, japanese radish, pickled carrots, and marinated cucumbers. If that was done in China by an up and coming chef no one would say it was Asian fusion. But we are not in China.
So for now, Take a Bao is under Asian Fusion on FoodDigger.