Introducing the Chinger
The idea was popularized by Momofuku Ssam Bar and by Xi'an Famous Foods--sandwiches featuring lamb or pork in a steamed or baked bao with pickled vegetables and a thick, sweet soy sauce. The idea might have occurred spontaneously in several places, because Taiwanese do something similar. Now, a new Taiwanese restaurant called Chinger--an offshoot of a next-door hot-pot place--is debuting a bao burger joint in the shadow of Elmhurst's LIRR tracks.
Instead of steamed bao, though, the fast-food sandwiches used baked bao, which are then toasted and split. Truth be told, they're a bit dry, and a little too much like English muffins. Still, the "burgers," which consist of spice-rubbed strips of beef or pork, are pretty tasty, and pleasantly novel, too. There's also a veggie version that features matchsticks of moist brown gluten in gravy, along with pickled daikon, rubbery kelp, and shredded Napa cabbage.
There's a separate ramen menu, as well, priced from $5.50 to $6.99, featuring the three most common broths (pig foot, soy, and miso), and a choice of either ramen or udon. The Japanese probably wouldn't approve the udon option.