Fake Filipino food of the day
Once in the third grade, I got to bring siopao to school for lunch. One of my classmates took one look at it, and said "What is that?" to which I replied, "Siopao! Duh!" I don't think it occurred to me that my Wonder Bread-eating compatriots would not have known the tastiness that is a pork bun.
Siopao (by the way, that's SHOO-pow), originating in China, is a favorite Filipino food, especially for a merienda. Meaty (usually chicken or pork), saucy middles are encased by a white fluffy bread, and the whole thing is steamed. There's also a dot on top that I've never really understood the purpose of. But in any case, it's delicious. It really, really is.
So when I found a bag of frozen siopao at the Asian market, I was pretty excited. I steamed it accordingly and ate it. It ... wasn't ... that ... good. I wanted to like it, because I love siopao, and it really wasn't that bad but ... it's ... not ... very ... good.
Turns out that it's not so much filled with pork as with TVP, or Texturized Vegetable Protein. I have nothing against TVP, or any other meat substitute, or vegetarians for that matter (vegans, on the other hand, I just don't get). I even once had a very tasty lasagna using TVP that I couldn't tell the difference with. In the siopao, however, there's not enough meatiness to the middle; it seems like a whole lot of spices and sauce instead of texture and weight. Bleah.