Serve Birria On Bao Buns For A Creative Meal With A Soft Bite

Birria and bao are a match made in heaven. A mashup of dishes from two different cuisines, the pairing is a must-try. However, the reality is that beyond its novelty, birria and bao buns are successful for a few reasons. In addition to providing a new way to enjoy each dish, the duo makes a lot of sense both texturally and flavor-wise. 

To fully understand the pairing, it's important to first look at both dishes independently. Starting with birria, the Mexican stew is made with marinated meat like beef chuck roast or short ribs that are braised in a rich broth. Typically, the meat is used to fill a fried taco that can then be dunked in leftover sauce. In contrast, bao buns are yeast-leavened, iconic of Chinese cuisines. Often steamed, the fluffy buns can be filled with anything from braised pork belly to sautéed veggies — or in this case, even birria. 

Since soft and pillowy bao buns act as a willing vessel for anything saucy, they prove to be excellent at soaking up delicious birria juices. In fact, they might even do better than a crunchy taco shell.

The magic of colliding cuisines and why this flavor combination works

Aside from thriving texturally, birria and bao also work in terms of flavor. Bao buns tend to be a fairly neutral base for any topping, making them a good companion for zesty birria. Given that the buns also boast a delicate sweetness, this can help offset the savory and spicy flavors of the stew.

Although there are differing opinions on fusion cuisine, mixing and matching elements of various cuisines does have its benefits. For instance, it allows for creativity to flourish, leading to some delicious and unlikely dishes. Plus, fusing diverse dishes from across the globe can also invite curiosity to explore new foods in a more approachable or familiar manner. 

In the case of birria and bao buns and other similar mash-ups, the pairings work not only thanks to a willingness to try new things but also an understanding of flavors and textures. That said, why stop at birria and bao? Any sauce-laden entrée from spicy curries to game-day chili can meet its match with an airy bao bun. The bottom line is this, take a culinary leap of faith and get brainstorming — the risk is worth the reward.