Size matters for these pancakes and buns

There are a handful of stalls outside and around People’s Park Complex in Chinatown that I term collectively as The Stalls Of Supersized Food.

A hole-in-the-wall stall around the corner sells meat bao that are almost the size of a newborn baby’s head.

And then there is Bao Tian Xia, a standalone kiosk outside the shopping centre, which sells Chinese pancakes and buns that look like they are on steroids.

For example, its Chinese sauce pancake ($1.50 each), a triangular wedge not unlike a slice of pizza, is bigger than my outstretched palm (and I have big hands).

But this also means more to eat, and the pancakes are delicious.

The Chinese sauce pancake is slathered with secret sauce, then sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.

The exact ingredients of the sauce are not known – trade secrets – but a search on the Internet threw up possibilities such as fermented bean sauce, sweet bean sauce, garlic, ginger and star anise, which could explain the sauce’s complex, savoury flavour.

The sauce goes very well with the plain flatbread base and the sesame seeds and chopped scallions add greatly to the fragrance.

Another monster item sold here is the pan-fried leek dumplings ($1.50 each), which are not at all dumpling-sized, or filled with leek, unlike what the name suggests.

More like a pocket sandwich, this “dumpling” is stuffed till fat with chopped chives and bits of bouncy fried egg.

The textures of the chives and fried egg complement each other so well, I would happily just dig into the stuffing alone.


  • People’s Park Complex (the side facing OG), 1 Park Road; open: 9.30am to 9.30pm daily

    Rating: 3.5

I especially love the peanut cake with brown sugar ($2 each), a huge flat bun stuffed with a mix of brown sugar, finely crushed peanut and sesame seeds.

The brown sugar has a grainy texture and, when mixed with the crushed peanuts and sesame seeds, is decadently sweet and crunchy.

There are some normal-sized offerings here, though – the fried buns with leek and egg, beef or pork ($2.50 for three, you can mix and match flavours).

The beef and pork buns are satisfyingly meaty and might please carnivores, and the stuffing is well-seasoned.

You could probably eat one of these meat buns yourself.

But take along a friend if you are going for the pancakes.