Someplace that…if you have to eat the Century City Mall…you’d be best served going…anywhere else.
There’s a term I heard not too long ago from a friend of mine, “Don Ho Asian”.
Now, I’m sure there are plenty of comparative terms for the same idea, which is faux Asian consumed large quantities by people who are (cough cough) not Asian.
After my first bite, I was mad…real mad.
Let’s back track. I’ve noticed Take A Bao for a while. I’ve seen it in the corner of my eye as I’ve gotten actual Asian (in this case, actual Ramen) at the Ajisen Ramen stand in the Eatery. My love for Ajisen is such that even with a reduced menu (as they serve at the Century City Mall), it is still my first option.
Ah, but tonight I’m going to the legendary Viper Room. I need to be there at a certain time, and quicker is better, so…no Ajisen tonight.
Tonight is Take A Ba—wait a minute.
Where are the damn Bao?
I’m standing there, in front of their display case, and all I see are damn salads and rice bowls.
And what’s this…this place sells fries. WTF??!?
Where are…the damn Bao?
Oh, there they are…on the menu, but…what’s with the display case? You have a place called Take A Bao, and…you’re not showing off your Bao. What gives?
Don’t tell me that the Nimrods who shop at this mall are alienated by…oh God…Bao are they? That I’ve been Atkins-outted of having my Steamed Bread. Don’t tell me they don’t like steamed bread and that Take A Bao and they had to emphasize their Salads and Rice Bowls to appeal to the West side crowd.
Please, say it ain’t so.
Fine. Screw them, I’m having a damn Bao Bun. I may be the ONLY person who’s in line that’s getting a Bao—
Oh, good. Someone else got one.
But damn if there are not a lot of Rice Bowls leaving slide.
Fine, time for me to sit down and have me a Bao bun.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well…
Ummm, I got the Original Hoisin Pork. In fact, I got two of the original Hoisin Pork.
I watched the Cook squirt Hoisin sauce on my Bao bun.
I watched him put on the pickled Red onion and cucumber.
I watched him serve it to me. I know there was Hoisin on that bun. I SAW it.
I tasted the Pickled Red Onion.
I tasted the Cucumber.
I tasted the Steamed Bread which was slightly sweetened. It was REAL Steamed Bread. It was light. It was fluffy. It could even be called…creamy.
What I did not taste was…the Pork.
I mean, its a healthy sized Bun. It was the biggest one I’ve ever had.
It was also the worst, by far.
Tasteless, flavorless Pork?? HOW THE HELL DO YOU MAKE TASTELESS, FLAVORLESS PORK?!? Not even the taste of the Hoisin.
This Bun…sucked. Literally everyone else’s is better. It was better at Culver City long gone, long lamented Beacon. It’s still better at the soon to be late and lamented Flying Pig. (Please don’t go Flying Pig. I still love ya!) It’s better at Ramen Jinya.
This was unacceptable.
Plus, it took like seven minutes to get me my grub. That’s a hell of a long time to give me a dull Bao Bun.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: What? That wasn’t enough? (See above).
PARKING: Yeah, God help you. You have to park in the Century City Mall Parking Structure, something that can be charitably compared to the Labyrinth of the Minotaur. Always crowded. Always busy. The Open Space indicators work…occasionally, when they feel like. And always expensive as hell.
Oh, and if you lose your card, it’s $24 bucks.
Ask me how I know.
Take A Bao (Century City)
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Tel: (310) 551-1100
Tuesday-Thursday: 11:00 am – 8:30 pm
Friday-Monday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm