I never realized until today that cua pao or gua bao originated from Taiwan. It is a popular street food.
I do not know why I suddenly had a Cua Pao Obession.
Maybe because a few weeks ago, I tried the cua pao of Chocful of Nuts in Shoppesville, Greenhills. Since then, I have been on a quest for the cua pao of my childhood.
I do not know if you still remember the small Chinese stall at one of the entrances of Makati Supermarket when it was still in Makati Commercial Center? I loved their cua pao. It was very simple in taste but I could not forget it. I know it had a slice of pork belly, preserved mustard leaves and crushed peanuts inside the mantou. They prepared it right before my eyes upon order.
I researched online and asked a lot of people where to eat good cua pao.
Last Friday, I went to the Travel Expo at the SMX Convention Center. I saw the Polland stall in the food area and tried their Liempo Cua Pao.
I also went to Meylin, a lot of people said they have the best cua pao with Pata.
Then last Saturday, I went to Spring by Ha Yuan on Benavidez St., Legazpi Village. It was recommended by Sansan.
Tita Linda said, Emer's at the basement of Makati Cinema was another must-try cua pao. I also read about it in some blogs.
On the same day, I also ordered the cua pao of Hen Lin.
There was nothing wrong with all the cua paos I ate. They even tasted good.
The problem was, they were not what I was looking for.
In my obsession and desperation, I made my own at home!
First, I cooked Braised Pork Belly.
I wanted to buy the preserved mustard leaves in Farmer's but Mayette said, the stall I directed her to ran out of stock. Sansan said just to add salt and let it sit in the fridge for a few days but I could not wait that long. I added salt to the fresh mustard leaves and let it sit for a while to draw out the moisture then blanched it before dinner.
I bought a small pack of peanuts and ground it with my coffee grinder. I added white sugar but in hindsight, I should not have done that.
Sansan said the mantou bread at David's Teahouse is very good, but I was feeling sick all day long. I could hardly get up after breakfast because of my head congestion, I even felt dizzy. I was really so excited to make cua pao that I pumped myself with a lot of medications just so I could buy what I need for my experiment. I did not have a choice, I had to take steroids which is bad for me because it will raise my sugar but I could not breathe anymore. So, after a round of Decilon, Allerta, Neozep and Ava Mist, I was able to get up.
I ordered the mantou bread at Mongkok, 2 pcs./order. I just steamed the bread for 10 minutes.
I chopped the blanched mustard leaves then squeezed out the water before putting it on the bread.
Added a slice of Braised Pork Belly....
Sprinkled with the peanut/sugar mixture
and drizzled with the thickened sauce.
It was OK..... But I feel it would taste better with the preserved mustard and perhaps just crushed nuts without sugar.
I am very near my goal. If they still do not have the preserved mustard at Farmer's, then I will have to take a short trip to Chinatown in Binondo!
Wish me luck on my next Cua Pao Experiment!
P.S. I am off the wheat-free lifestyle until I am done with my obsession.