Outdoor seating: yes
Food Quality: 3 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Recommendation: Quick and cheap way to fill stomach.
In the food stall area in the Shi Da nightmarket, there was a particular stall that still had a crowd gathered around it even on a sunday night. Hsu-Ji Pan Fried Bao seemed to be a popular stall, so I ventured over to see what it was all about. The stall's service is better than average because they have a line for ordering where you are given a number after you paid for your order. However, after you get your number, pandemonium erupts when people crowd around to get their order. They prepare a batch of around 120 pan fried bao per 5 minutes, so you really have to fight to get yours first. This seems like a popular stall.
The pan fried bao wasn't that great. The skin was soft, Q, and crispy on the bottom, which is ok. However, the filling was not so appetizing. The meat was like a pork paste, and hardly seasoned enough. Cabbage was used with the meat to add a crunchy texture and some sweet flavor, which is a standard pairing in bao fillings. They topped the bao off with black and white sesame seeds to make it more aromatic. I didn't think the sesame seeds were good enough to compensate for the pasty filling, but I guess people like the pasty filling. The bao is very juicy, it contains a mild, oily pork and cabbage stock, yet this snack just didn't have a wow factor. Also, eating out of a paper bag with a skewer was a frustrating process, especially when the juices start osmosizing into your palm. For a price of 30 NT for 5 bao, one can hardly complain~ 3 out of 5 for average food.