By Ryan Gandolfo
We Try It is a regular series where we try the latest off-beat food and beverage offerings.
Italian and Chinese edibles are two of the most exported cuisines in the world, with people from Tokyo to Toronto enjoying fresh pizza and dumplings from time to time. In fact, an economist at the University of Minnesota found Italy and China exported nearly USD300 billion of their cuisine to the rest of the world, making them global gastronomic powerhouses.
And when you have two great things, why not combine them? Thats how baozza was born. The fusion food concept, which combines the shape and texture of your classic Chinese baozi and the fragrant, tasty ingredients of za, has been winning over hearts in Beijing and Shanghai since 2016.
Image by Ryan Gandolfo/Thats
While folks in these two cities can pop in for a fresh and gooey baozza anytime, the rest of China was deprived of the cheesy pizza snack with Chinese characteristics. However, in October, Baozza announced that their Western-style baozi were available for nationwide shipping, much to our delight.
We seized the opportunity to give them a try, keeping in mind that its difficult to replicate that freshness when shipping the beloved snack 2,000 kilometers away.
Baozza flavors available online include pepperoni, margherita, roast duck and spinach cheese. As opposed to store-bought baozza, these pizza bao arrive in two- and four-packs, frozen and covered in a separate wrapper.
Image by Ryan Gandolfo/Thats
On the box, youll see five main ways to cook baozza steam, bake, pan fry, deep fry and, of course, microwave. We opted to nuke em for simplicity (and speed).
Image via Ryan Gandolfo/Thats
Read below to see what our Guangzhou office thought of the margherita and pepperoni baozza:
Its actually really good, theres plenty of cheese but it could use more sauce. The outer dough is sprinkled with oregano and other spices, tasting like focaccia bread.
Its just pizza, not really an authentic baozi, tastes like pizza and smells like pizza.
The taste of this pepperoni pizza-baozi is passable, but it wouldve been great if there was more inside the bao; its just too much bread. But, when compared with KFCs Chizza, the baozza can be described as a treat.
Mantou has never really jived with me, its too doughy and bland. That said, when the traditional Chinese buns are stuffed with marinara sauce, cheese and pepperoni, they become oh-so-delicious. Think of baozza as a hot pocket with Chinese characteristics, a truly epic fusion.
Baozza strikes me as that clutch afternoon slash evening snack for when youre craving a cheesy treat, but still want to signal to your pengyou that you play bao.
The final verdict: 3.8/5
Whos eating them: baozi bosses, pizza players
Price: RMB44 for two boxes (four bao) (shipping not included).
To purchase, search Baozza on Taobao.
[Cover image by Ryan Gandolfo/Thats]
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