Reader “Aline” recently left a comment regarding Libby Manapua Shop, saying that on her visit there just about a week ago, all 4 manapua ordered really lacked charsiu meat filling, being mostly a steamed white bun. So much that she’s discouraged to return.
Well, we just got a box of Manapua and Pork Hash from Libby’s today as a going-away gift of sorts, which is perfect timing, as now I can play “myth buster” and see for myself if this continues to be a “bun” issue there.
Before I dissect each manapua from this current batch for a cross-cut view, take a look once again at the Manapua I got from Libby’s back in December 2006…
Libby’s Manapua (and other dim sum) – December 2006
While not “choke”, very adequate.
Now let’s look at what we have from Libby’s today…
A small box of Manapua and Pork Hash from Libby Manapua Shop, August 2008
All four of the manapua in this box were cut in half for a “Charsiu Check”. Here’s how they look…
Whoah! Where’s the meat?! What is this, a dinner roll? lol
Let’s look at another one…
Wow, Laulau. Eh Uncle, no be Pake! Oh, I forgot, you are Pake. lol
Here’s another one…
That’s not bad. I’m cool with that. Much better than the first two!
And one more…
Getting a little “squeaky” again, especially on the edge there.
So two out of four were very much lacking in charsiu filling. Enough to be a deal-breaker, that’s for sure. You don’t even need that “before” Manapua comparison photo to see their shortcoming.
The other two were acceptable, yet could be better. Also noticeable is the lack of red color of the Charsiu. Although that’s just an appearance thing, I think it’s an important factor in giving Charsiu its character. Notice in the December ’06 Manapua how much more red it is.
The redemption that Libby’s can fall back on is their fantastic bun texture and great flavor of the charsiu; even for what little that’s in there now!
I think Aline is right by basically saying that she’d rather pay a little more and get a Manapua that’s in balance, than to pay less and essentially get a steamed bun with just a “tease” of charsiu in it. Even if that meant breaking the one-dollar price point.
While I was in dissecting mode, I decided to cut a Pork Hash in half to get a closer look at what’s in it…
Looks like just ground pork to me. Isn’t there also supposed to be water chestnuts and green onion in it? Whatever the case, I LOVE their pork hash! Perhaps its simplicity, along with that slightly sweet flavor in the pork is what makes theirs so ono.
Not to single-out Libby’s either, as I remember one order we had from Char Hung Sut, where it was just as lacking. But then another time, it was filled adequately. It must really depend who’s making it in back. Eh, no let da’ Pake ownah in da’ kitchen! lol
The next time you eat a manapua, wherever it’s from, let us know how your Charsiu-to-bun ratio was. Hey, it’s important!