I spent Labor Day weekend in the Pacific Northwest, mainly in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. I loved both cities, but Seattle spoke right to me. That is, it threw a bustling food market in my face and therefore, found the direct route to my heart: through my stomach.
Fresh seafood packed on beds of ice, colorful straws filled with flavored honey, stacks of artisanal cheeses, heaps of fresh produce… it went on and on. Believe it or not though, I practiced incredible self control and bought only one thing from the whole place. One thing! That’s a hell of a feat for me.
Now bear with me, I know my last post was about Chinese buns, but I’m here to talk about more Chinese buns—BBQ humbow to be specific, because that’s what I had and they were pretty freakin’ fantastic. During my pre-trip research I had come across several sources that said Mee Sum Pastry was a must in the market area, so as soon as we got there I started looking around. As luck would have it, it was right in front of me.
Mee Sum had lots of delicious looking sweet and savory snacks and the smells wafting out of the small space were trying to tempt me into buying one of everything, but I held my ground and walked away with a BBQ pork humbow. It was big and round and took up most of the space in my outstretched palm. When I held it with my fingers it was soft and doughy, with just a slight crispness to the top crust. All around me people were walking away with bags from Mee Sum, but when I saw a guy bite into his and walk away chomping happily with bulging cheeks, I knew people-watching time was over.
My teeth sank into the soft bun, tearing off a fluffy chunk of sweet bread. I could see a little hint of the BBQ pork filling peeking out and took a couple more bites to get to it. At first I thought there wasn’t enough filling since I had to dig into the bun before finding it, but once I got there all was forgiven. Juicy, tangy meat in a slightly sweet BBQ sauce oozed out of the core, pouring out over the rest of the bun while some dribbled down my fingers. Best of all, it wasn’t too hot, so it didn’t scorch my tongue the way so many other foods do when I wolf them down impatiently.
If there weren’t so many other things to see (and eat), I would’ve turned around and gone for another humbow. I already had other reasons for coming back to Seattle some time, now I had one more.