EAST VILLAGE (WABC) --Flushing, Queens, may claim to have the market cornered on Shanghai-style cuisine but it's getting some stiff competition from the East Village.
A new restaurant "The Bao" is stepping up the game with traditional recipes and some very unusual flavors.
Bao, which refers to buns or dumplings, just opened on St. Mark's Place. And there are plenty to choose from, including Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings.
"When it's steamed, you have all the hot soup inside with the meat and the filling," owner Richard Lam said. "When you pick it up, it almost looks like a balloon filled with water."
They make those to order at Bao, and the fillings can be a little wild, like chocolate and banana, or wasabi.
And there's a technique, that starts with a nibble and then a slurp. And then you get to gobble it down. And while the process that gets the soup in there is a secret, Lam is willing to spill the beans on another restaurant favorite.
Recipe for Squashed Peppers and Eggplant
-1 Italian pepper (thinly slides, seeds removed)
-1 eggplant (thinly sliced)
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp chicken powder (bullion)
-1 tsp msg (optional)
-1 pinch of sugar (optional)
-3 tsp soy sauce
-1 tsp Sesame oil
-Stir fried or deep fry pepper and eggplant with cooking oil
-Drain and place in bowl
-Add all other ingredients to the bowl and mix with pestle or spoon and smash to desired consistency
"The actual textures mix together and the flavors mix together," Lam said. "And you have all these flavors in your mouth."
And with a smattering of dishes from around China, there's plenty to choose from at The Bao, located at 13 St Marks Place, New York, NY, 10003.
WEB EXTRA: What are Richard Lam's 7 favorite ingredients to cook with?