Xiao Bao Biscuit: A Weekend in Charleston

By my second day in Charleston, I was ready for a change of pace. We'd been eating Southern cuisine up to this point at both Husk and McCrady's and I figured I'd take the recommendation of many locals and do Asian comfort food for lunch at Xiao Bao Biscuit.

In the Canonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood of historic Charleston, amid lots of residential and historic buildings, sit some of the most intriguing eateries in Charleston. Sugar Bakeshop and Wildflour Pastry are mere minutes away, and Xiao Bao Biscuit seems like a natural, almost bohemian fit in this part of town. A handful of tables are clustered inside along with a bar and window counter seating.  When you include the cure picnic tables outside there's plenty of space, yet the feel is cosy and homey. We were early for a Saturday lunch, but I imagine the crowds can get quite crazy, especially since they don't take reservations - first come, first served is the name of the game at Xiao Bao Biscuit.

The menu isn't large and from what I hear, changes very frequently, but what a menu it is. A handful of dishes made really well highlight classic Asian flavors with a little twist. 

We started with Okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake, and added the fried egg on top.

The dish was deeply savory, perfectly seasoned, with a soft, almost sweet, cabbagey interior with crunchy fried bits and edges. For one person, this alone could make for a very tasty lunch. Optional toppings included pork candy or bacon. There's always next time!

For entrees, we ordered two rice dishes -  the Bo Bo Ji and Chao Fan.

Bo Bo Ji
The Bo Bo Ji was Sichuan style chicken, cilantro, scallion and peanut salad over rice with a roasted sesame sauce. The heat was present, but not overpowering, the chicken was tender,  and rice appropriately sticky. I had no complaints and wolfed down this dish. My husband, on the other hand, felt the heat creeped up on him and preferred the Chao Fan.

Chao Fan
Chao Fan is Chinese style fried rice, done the Xiao Bao Biscuit way. That meant Chinese sausage, shrimp and eggs with fresh chilis, scallions and peanuts. Of the dishes, this was my least favorite. I felt that the flavors were a little heavy handed for my taste (I tend to enjoy simpler fried rice) but my husband like this the best.

All in all, Xiao Bao Biscuit delivered exactly what I hoped for - delicious Asian comfort food in a relaxed, casual setting. If I were local, I'd be a regular.

Xiao Bao Biscuit
224 Rutlege Ave.
Charleston, SC 29401

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