1200 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
The Chairman (Formerly Chairman Bao) is a San Francisco food truck that serves Chinese steamed and baked buns with a variety of fillings. These are offshots of Taiwanese Gua bao or bun sandwich. When we were in Taiwan, it was difficult to find this old school dish. Our only Gua bao was ironically at the ritz Shin Yeh, Taipei 101.
Their truck can be found all over the San Francisco area (SF, Emeryville, Brisbane) with locations broadcast over Twitter. We tried their buns at Oakland’s Eat Real Festival. Chairman Bao is backed by corporate food truck company Mobi Munch.
They opened a restaurant at 670 Larkin in San Francisco in 2015.
Incidentally, The Chairman is the name of a well respected Hong Kong restaurant.
Decor, Vibe – Chairman Bao is a pretty professional looking food truck with a computer system that even takes Visa/Mastercard credit cards. There was a huge line that formed even before Chairman Bao opened.
Chairman Bao Menu
Chairman Bao’s menu varies but usually has steamed or baked buns filled with pork, chicken, pork belly, duck, or tofu. Shaved ice is sometimes served.
Signature Dishes – Tender Pork Belly Bun
Chairman Bao Food Picks:
Steamed bun with Coca-Cola Braised Pork with Savoy Cabbage & Preserved Yellow Mustard Seeds ($3.75) is a variant of the pork belly one. Less fatty, but still equally satisfying.
Rice Bowl ($12) with white rice, seasonal greens, beef short rib was a more substantial dish at their restaurant. A nice change from the informal street food esq bun.
Tender Pork Belly with Turmeric Pickled Daikon on Steamed Bun ($3.75) had a delectably fat piece of pork sandwiched between a fresh steamed bun with some daikons tossed in. Excellent flavor and texture without being grossed out with fat.
Red Sesame Chicken with Scallion and Bok Choy on Steamed Bun ($3.50) appears to be spicy beyond belief but way more on the mild side. Messy as heck, this beast was filled with a lot more vegetables than chicken. Overall a decent bun.
Crispy Garlic Tofu with Miso Greens on Steamed Bun ($3.50) will surely satisfy vegetarians. The dressing looks splashed all over the greens, but is not overwhelming. Quality tofu fills the tender bun.
Kennebec Potato Fries ($3.50) with nori and assorted sauces. Deep fried goodness with a variety of dipping sauces. Yum.
Service – Chairman Bao served up buns pretty quickly once we ordered. The line wait depends on the venue.
Value – Prices are cheap but you need to eat at least 3 to fill up.
Verdict – Most Chinese food purists will probably gag when they see the Chairman Bao logo and buns. How can folk that have eaten extensively in China, including at Lung King Heen like this stuff. We had read about them and came expecting dismal food but were surprised. Chairman Bao is a unique Asian fusion food truck that serves up some surprisingly good buns. Another local food blogger even agrees with the assessment.
Their chef recently took off to start the American food oriented Curbside food truck.