Crispy Garlic Tofu from Chairman Bao
In San Francisco's Summer of the Food Truck, a few stars are emerging. Top of the list is
Chairman Bao, which, despite a rollout slick enough to generate a flutter of bicoastal controversy, is delivering the goods. The menu splits along the bao dichotomy of baked or steamed. Baked: shiny, sweet burger-bun rounds calibrated for sandwich diehards. It's the delicately spongy steamed bao that best show off the Chairman's half-dozen fillings. Nicely fatty five-spice-scented pork belly, say, with its shaggy ruffle of yellow-pickled daikon slices, or plush shards of soft duck with mango slices that taste as if they'd been lightly poached in brine.
Our favorite, though, is crispy garlic tofu, a slab with the dimensions of toaster hash browns, coated with frizzled, golden panko. It's topped with blanched bok choy leaves, and a sort of vegannaise, a mayo-like drizzle that gets its body from blended tofu, seasoned with garlic and white miso. Good enough to get us to head to Brisbane (a frequent stop) for lunch ― and that's a phrase we thought we'd never hear ourselves utter.
Chairman Bao Truck Parked today at Mississippi and 17th Street, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; check Twitter for updates