We put seven brands of the popular salted egg lava buns to a blind taste test. Which one gets the perfect balance between sweet creaminess and salty egg yoke?
1. Chokdee Dimsum (B39)
The bun: The texture feels fake, while the interior is scarily white. Way too floury and it has an odd smell.
The stuffing: That smell. We don’t know what it is, and we don’t like it.
Verdict: Chokdee with that.
Try Paholyothin Rd., BTS Ari. 02-975-9961. www.chokdeedimsum.com
2. Shang Long Bao (B18)
The bun: Very different from the other contenders, as it has a kind of baked crust that carries a bizarre burnt aroma. Too rubbery.
The stuffing: Salty rather than sweet like the others.
Try Silom Complex, Silom Rd., 091-772-5722. Open daily 10:30am-9pm
3. Hong Bao (B85 for three)
The bun: The buns are moist, soft and firm. The filling tastes very fresh.
The stuffing: A bit like sangkhaya (egg cream custard).
Verdict: The bun outshines the stuffing.
G/F Thanya Shopping Park, Suanluang. 02-108-6055.
4. Crystal Jade (B89 for three)
The bun: Way too sweet.
The stuffing: Prepare to slurp it up—it’s an explosion. It’s also much too sugary compared to the best here.
Verdict: A sad eruption.
G/F, Siam Paragon, Rama 1 Rd., BTS Siam. 02-129-4344. Open daily 10am-10pm
5. The Baozi (B22)
The bun: Slightly too sweet and a bit floury, but not too bad—chewy and fluffy.
The stuffing: Yummy! It’s salty, has a good consistency with little bits of khai kem, and it’s highly aromatic.
Verdict: Very impressive, especially for the price.
Try BTS Asok or BTS Victory Monument, exit 4. 087-376-8989. Open daily 7am-9pm
6. 7-Eleven (B15)
The bun: Dry, flavorless and industrial tasting.
The stuffing: Oddly, there’s a separation between the oil and the eggs. Take an undiscerning bite, though, and it’s surprisingly balanced in flavor.
Verdict: Not as bad as it looks.
7. Chef Man (B120 for three)
The buns: Satisfying—airy but moist, fluffy, chewy and soft.
The stuffing: Less runny than others with well-rounded flavors and nice bits of khai kem (salted egg). Could do with a tad more excitement, though.
Verdict: The Man really lives up to its name. Totally explains the long queues at the restaurant.
3/F Eastin Grand Hotel, Sathorn, BTS Surasak. 02-212-3741. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 6-10pm
Note: All buns were reheated in the microwave for the same amount of time.