In Taiwan, they’re known as Gua Bao but not sure if these sandwiches originate from there but they can definitely found all over Asia. This usually consists of a single white steamed dough or bread that’s folded around some filling. The most popular protein is pork belly (usually red braised or plain) and it is supposed to be accompanied with a fresh vegetable like sliced cucumbers and cilantro. Also typically includes a bit of Hoisin sauce. The white steamed dough is supposed to be fluffy and airy like a pillow. It should not be dry or hard anywhere.
Last Visit: Feb 2017, # of visits: 3
Very solid version with some nice veggies topped on the braised pork belly with Hoisin sauce. This was $6 from what I recall for a good sized bun.
1441 St. Mathieu
Last visit: Feb 2017, # of visits: 2
It’s called a Buta Burger on their menu but it’s pretty much the same as a steamed bao sandwich. Tasty with mayo, green onions and slices of radish with pork belly. The bun was slightly grilled too which was nice. Think it was $6 or around that price and the bun is a good size.
Summer location: 138 Atwater [Marché Atwater]
Last visit: Summer 2015, # of visits: 4
Winter location: 3911 Saint-Jacques O
This Singaporean street food hawker was the first place to offer buns, which are very good but it’s been a while since I’ve had them and they’re kind of expensive for their small size.
Last visit: Sep 2015, # of visits: 4
This Indonesian restaurant offers steamed buns as a pretty good and affordable appetizer. I liked some of their main dishes before.
912 Maisonneuve E
Last visit: September 2015, # of visits: 5
This is a Korean restaurant that offers a couple of steamed bun sandwiches. The pork belly is not braised but still tastes quite good. They also offer one with a fried shrimp patty. I like some of their standard Korean dishes including their bingsoo dessert.
Mon ChiCha Bistro
1396 Maisonneuve O
Last visit: Oct 2016, # of visits: 1
Opened in October 2016 and currently in their soft opening phase. They aim to offer various Asian street food. Steamed buns are pretty good and bigger than some other places for a fair price (Think it was $6 or $7). Tried the pork belly and the eel ones. Comes with cucumber slices and cilantro.
3479 St. Laurent
Last visit: Summer 2015, # of visits: 3
Opened in 2015, this Japanese izakaya offers either steamed or fried bun sandwiches. Not bad but nothing super special. $8 for two.
255 Rachel Est
Last visit: Jun 2016, # of visits: 1
A new little shop that opened recently in Spring 2016 and specializes in steamed buns. The taste of the pulled pork steamed buns is good but each is quite small and at $10.50 after tax for two small buns, the value to price ratio is not great. There is potential if they can adjust their pricing.
Le Viet Sandwich
292 St. Catherine W
Last visit: Aug 2016, # of visits: 5
They specialize in banh mi sandwiches but have expanded their menu to offer their typical Vietnamese fillings in tacos and buns. At $4.75 for a single small bun, the price is higher than it should be but otherwise it tastes good. The banh mi is a better deal for sure.
Future places to try
3717 St. Urbain
43 Mont-Royal O
Big in Japan
3723 St. Laurent