In the heart of Nam Dinh city, a quaint bakery has been enchanting locals and visitors alike for over three decades with an exceptional culinary offering—xiu pao, or grilled pork buns. These delectable buns, believed to have arrived with Chinese immigrants, have become a treasured part of Nam Dinh’s gastronomic heritage. Among the establishments that have mastered the art of creating this traditional delicacy, Hoa Nhung shop at 234 Hoang Van Thu Street stands as a testament to preserving the authentic flavors and techniques of xiu pao. Let’s dive into the rich history and flavors of this beloved bakery and its signature grilled pork buns.
The Origins of Xiu Pao: A Beloved Culinary Tradition
The exact origins of xiu pao remain a mystery, but it is believed to have been brought to Nam Dinh by Chinese immigrants on Khach Street, which is now known as Hoang Van Thu and Le Hong Phong streets in the city. The unique round, flat cake with a yellow-brown color quickly won the hearts of locals and became an integral part of Nam Dinh’s culinary heritage.
Hoa Nhung Shop: Preserving the Legacy of Xiu Pao
Among the pioneers in producing xiu pao in Nam Dinh is Hoa Nhung shop at 234 Hoang Van Thu Street. This family-owned bakery has been serving the delightful buns for more than three decades and has received accolades from older residents who have enjoyed their offerings since their youth.
The Evolution of Xiu Pao Making: From Handcrafted to Modern Techniques
Mr. Hoa, the second-generation owner of Hoa Nhung shop, used to create xiu pao entirely by hand. However, in 2015, when he passed the business to his son, Tuan, they introduced machinery and equipment to enhance efficiency. This upgrade enabled them to meet the growing demand without compromising the traditional craftsmanship of their beloved buns.
The Irresistible Flavor of Xiu Pao
The charm of xiu pao lies in its mouthwatering flavor. The filling, consisting of ground pork belly, wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and egg yolk seasoned with pepper and spices, creates a burst of umami goodness with every bite.
The Secret Behind Hoa Nhung’s Xiu Pao
What sets Hoa Nhung’s xiu pao apart is its unique crust made from a blend of flour and lard mixed with water. The dough is expertly kneaded and rolled, creating four to five thin, distinct layers that add to the bun’s delightful texture.
The Unique Crust: Layers of Delight
The crust of Hoa Nhung’s xiu pao is a true marvel. The combination of the perfect blend of ingredients and the skillful layering during the dough preparation results in a crust that is both crispy and soft at the same time.
The Baking Process: Creating Golden and Aromatic Buns
Once the fillings are carefully wrapped, the buns are placed in the oven for two rounds of baking, each lasting 20 to 30 minutes at around 200 degrees Celsius. After the initial baking, a layer of egg wash is brushed onto the crust, giving it a natural golden hue and a captivating aroma.
Xiu Pao: A Culinary Delight with a Pocket-Friendly Price
Despite its exquisite taste and intricate preparation process, xiu pao remains affordable. Priced at VND 5,000 (21 cents) each, these small cakes are packed with generous fillings, making them a popular and accessible snack for locals and visitors alike.
Xiu Pao as a Heartfelt Gift from Nam Dinh
Beyond being a breakfast or afternoon snack, xiu pao also holds sentimental value as a heartfelt gift from the countryside. It symbolizes the warmth and affection of the Nam Dinh people, making it a meaningful present for various occasions.
Testimonials of Xiu Pao Enthusiasts
Customers, like Pham Van Hau, have expressed their love for Hoa Nhung’s xiu pao and consider them unparalleled in taste and quality. The shop’s reputation for producing larger buns with fuller fillings has made it the go-to choice for gift-giving and personal enjoyment.
Exploring Xiu Pao Shops in Nam Dinh City
In Nam Dinh City, visitors can easily find several shops selling xiu pao along Hoang Van Thu, Le Hong Phong, and Nguyen Trai streets. Exploring these establishments and savoring the various offerings is a delightful experience for any food enthusiast.
Hoa Nhung shop in Nam Dinh is a testament to the preservation of culinary heritage through the delightful xiu pao. This charming bakery has mastered the art of creating flavorful grilled pork buns, making them an essential part of Nam Dinh’s cultural and gastronomic identity.
- What is the specialty of Hoa Nhung’s xiu pao? Hoa Nhung’s xiu pao is renowned for its unique crust, created with a perfect blend of flour, lard, and water, resulting in a crispy yet soft texture.
- How many buns does Hoa Nhung sell per day? On an average day, the bakery sells around 3,000 to 4,000 buns, and during weekends, holidays, and Lunar New Year, this number can double or even triple.
- Can I store Hoa Nhung’s xiu pao for later consumption? Yes, the buns can be stored in the freezer for up to a week, and a quick microwave will restore their crispiness and aroma.
- What are the main ingredients in xiu pao filling? The filling typically includes ground pork belly, wood ear mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, egg yolk, and a blend of savory spices.
- Is xiu pao available all year round? Xiu pao is favored during cooler seasons, making it a delightful treat to be enjoyed during those times.