Loved it at First Bite


Matias Simionato, Staff Writer

Bao Shi Yi is a popular Chinese restaurant in the Houston area. Bao Shi Yi, translates to When to Cook in English and they pride themselves on their meat buns, even adding it into their name and logo. It has three locations in Houston and recently opened up a fourth location in Katy, Texas. The Katy store has a great location, in a plaza that is right next to a gas station, so you can refuel your car and your stomach.    The outside of the store greets you with glass doors and walls, which give a peek into the inside of the store. A beautiful turquoise sign is seen above everything, something that nobody can miss if they are driving. On the glass there are neon signs in Chinese characters and the times that the store is open. Some seats are outside as well for those who wish to not dine inside.

    Inside the smell of cleanliness and food can be smelt all around. To the right there is a statue of Boba tea, and behind it, on the wall, are a collection of neon lights in the shape of objects, such as rainbows, steaming meat buns, dumplings, noodles, bubble tea, and much more. Further down there are two refrigerators with glass doors showing the frozen bun bags that people can buy. To the left are three booths that can fit four people each with sanitizing wipes on each of them for you to clean the table with and disinfect. Near the entrance there is a high table with four high chairs to eat and watch the outside, which also has sanitizing wipes. On the wall behind the booths there is a sign showing the logo and an illustration of a chef making meat buns. On the outside of the painting there are illustrations on how the meat buns are made, starting with a bag of flour and ending with the meat buns in a bowl, all of the steps have Chinese characters that describe what the step is doing. The counter almost always has a worker present and you can see the workers in the background, making the food.

    I ordered the Egg and Tomato Noodles, along with fresh meat buns, while my friend ordered the Braised Beef Noodles. While it took some time to wait for the food, when the food came it was worth the wait. They bring the noodles in take out bags and bring the dumplings in a take out box no matter if you ordered to go or to dine in. They bring you a multitude of different utensils to use, such as chopsticks, spoons, and forks. If you order noodles then you get a bag of broth that you can use to flavor the noodles. Without it then the noodles taste bland, but with it, the noodles tasted amazing. The egg was great and added to the whole taste. While the Egg and Tomato Noodles are categorized as spicy on the menu, they are not. Instead, the most popular noodles, the braised beef noodles, are spicy.  Braised beef is added to the noodles as well as cut green onions. The noodles are tinted yellow, but do not have that much of a taste without the broth. The meat while itself is not that spicy, really amps up the heat the more a person eats it. The meat buns, which are the store’s pride, tasted good. The soft and warm feeling combined well with the meat inside. The Chinese donuts, which the store sells for a low price, tasted good, but tasted different to what I expected. If they sit for a minute or two, they taste the best. All in all the food that was served tasted amazing.

    The pricing in the restaurant was usually good, but there were some outliers. The noodles are the most expensive dishes out of the whole menu, costing around ten dollars each, with the exception of the egg and tomato noodles costing around seven dollars. While everything else on the menu seems to be normally priced, the drinks are expensive and the store does not give the option of fountain drinks, but the water is free. The drinks cost around six dollars and are more expensive than some of the food that they serve.