Costco Pork Bun Baos - Better than Dim Sum Restaurants?
Red Moon Bao Pork Buns at Costco
Costco sells Red Moon Bao Pork Buns for $8.99. The pork buns can be found in the refrigerated deli area near other items such as the Chicken Katsu, Barbacoa, and Chicken Burgers.
Each package weighs 24 ounces and contains a twin pack of 6 pork bao buns each. There are a total of 12 2-ounce pork buns.
What are Pork Buns?
Pork buns are more commonly known as Cha Siu Bao or Char Siu Bao which means barbecue pork bun. These buns are steamed and contain a filling of Chinese barbecue pork.
Bao Means Bun
To go over the terminology, bao refers to a chinese style bun. The bao can either be filled and enclosed like a dumpling like these pork buns are, or the bun can take the shape of hard shell taco with the texture of a fluffy bread.
At Restaurants, the open baos are usually served with duck and often in a build your own style.
Char Siu or Cha Siu means Barbecue Pork
Char Siu or cha siu refers to the barbecue style pork that is included in these steamed pork baos.
The Pork that is used isn’t the traditional american style shredded pork covered in bbq sauce, but instead the pork is roasted with spices, sweeteners, and red yeast rice to give the bbq pork its distinct bright red color.
Steamed vs Baked
There are two main ways to make a bbq pork bun and that is to either steam or bake the buns.
The steamed buns are typically white in color and just a few inches wide while the baked pork baos are brown in color and are usually 4-6 inches wide. Red Moon’s Pork Bao Buns are the steamed version.
Baked pork buns have more cha siu filling and are going to be a little sweeter.
Barbecue Pork Buns are typically eaten as dim sum, which essentially means that they are served as a series of small appetizers, similar to Spanish tapas.
Char Siu Baos along with Ha Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork Dumplings) are some of the more popular dim sum dishes.
Costco Cost Comparison
Costco sells the 12 pack of cha siu baos for $8.99. Each individual chinese barbecue pork bun will cost $0.75 each.
This is a solid price for a steamed pork bun. They typically go for about $1-$1.25 or more at most dim sum restaurants.
Costco vs The Competition
Target sells a 6-pack of 1.3-ounce pork buns for $5.79. This is a price of $0.97 for considerably smaller pork buns.
Costco comes out ahead in price and value again!
In the packaging, the pork buns look just ok. They are squished and clearly are mass produced.
The bread doesn’t look to be of great quality. It looks very artificial and not doughy.
Even after removing the pork bao buns from the packaging, they still are semi-squished. I’m hoping that by reheating the pork buns, we can rejuvenate them.
Costco Bao Pork Bun - Taste Test
I followed the heating directions with these Costco pork bao buns, but they came out just lukewarm.
I put them back in the microwave for 20 seconds and the end result was a sufficiently heated pork bun.
The issue is that the bread was dry. I don’t know if it’s because of the additional time in the microwave or if the bread is just not that great to begin with (more likely), but the bao was not enjoyable.
Even if the 20 more seconds dried out the bread, it isn’t great to have to decide between a lukewarm pork bun or a dried out one.
The Bun is Not Worth Eating
The bao didn’t offer a lot of taste which was expected, but it was also dry and unpleasant. The bread does a great job of holding in the chinese barbecue pork, but that’s about it.
There were a few of the pork baos where I was left with some excess bun that I didn’t bother to eat.
When I’m done with a meal like this, I’m usually left with a “graveyard” of buns/dumpling wrappers/breading.
The bread also had a sheen or a thin layer on the exterior that gave the bread the folded look that traditional restaurant quality pork buns have.
In this case, it seems to be all for show.
Barbecue Pork (Cha Siu)
The barbecue pork wasn’t much better. The first thing you may notice is the brown color of the pork rather than the traditional red color that you will see at dim sum restaurants.
The pork also tasted just ok, but not great. There wasn’t a ton of flavor, but the quality was solid enough. No overly fatty or oily pieces, and was easily the best part of the pork bun.
I will give also Red Moon credit for the amount of sauce in the pork bun. It seemed to be the right amount and it is nice to see some of that sauce soaked into the bao.
Not My Favorite
Overall, I really didn’t care for the pork bao buns from Costco. They were dry, small, and just not that good.
I don’t expect the pork buns to compare to restaurant quality, but they weren’t even close and in my mind, not even an acceptable at-home substitute.
Red Moon Pork Bao Bun Cooking Instructions
Red Moon makes these chinese style pork buns super convenient to prepare. They are a heat and eat item and literally ready in 20 seconds in the microwave. It’s hard to beat that!
- Remove Bao from the plastic bag.
- Place on a microwave safe plate.
- Cover bao in a moist paper towel and microwave for about 18-20 seconds.
- Add 8-10 seconds for each additional bao.
Costco Bao Bun (Pork) - Nutritional Information
How Many Calories in Costco Bao Buns?
Each Red Moon Pork Bao from Costco is going to weigh 2 ounces and will be considered one serving. Each pork bun contains 150 calories made up of 3.5 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of protein.
This is somewhat what I expected in terms of nutritional value, but I am also a little surprised with how many carbs are in each little pork bun. The buns are not big by any means, and eating multiple will be rather easy.
Eating just 3 buns would be considered a snack, but would contain 75 grams of carbs.
There is a moderate amount of sodium in each Costco pork bun at 280 mg. This is 12% of the daily recommended value and will add up when eating multiple barbecue pork baos.
Costco Pork Bao Buns
Product Name: Red Moon Chinese Style Pork Bao Buns
Quantity: 12 Pork Bao Buns
Location Within Costco: Refrigerated Deli Area
Price Per Pork Bun: $0.75
The Pork Bao Buns from Costco are a nice find, but a big miss. The price is fair, but the pork bun is lacking in flavor, texture, and freshness.
They are convenient, but the better option is to go get some dim sum take out.
Value - 7/10
Convenience - 9/10
Taste - 5/10
Nutrition - 6/10
CFDB Score - 6/10
- Fair Price
- Super Convenient
- Dry Bun
- Sub-Par flavor