Trader Joe’s Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns Review

Trader Joe's Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns

We really enjoy when Asian fusion food gets a little creative. So when we saw that Trader Joe’s combined Chinese bao buns with Philly cheesesteak, an American classic, we knew right away that we had to try this combination. So today we’re digging into the Trader Joe’s Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns.

We’ve actually tried a similar item in the past. The Cha Siu Bao Chinese Style Pork Buns have a similar outer shell, though they’re filled with pork and a sweet, soy-based sauce. The ones we’re trying to day come packed with shredded beef and processed american cheese.

What? American cheese? Who would put american cheese inside a Chinese-style bun? That seems almost like frozen food blasphemy, doesn’t it? What horrible fate has Trader Joe’s brought upon themselves?

Okay, that’s a bit extreme. We’ll take it down a notch…

Trader Joe's Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns

Anyway, these are simple enough to heat, whether you opt for a steamer or a microwave. We actually don’t have a steamer in the Freezer Meal Frenzy office (something we might have to fix at some point), so we heated our bao buns in the microwave.

Using the microwave cooking method written on the box, the tops of the buns end up dry and tacky while the undersides are wet and slippery. It’s not the ideal texture or consistency for these buns, but it’s also not terrible.

As you can see in the image below, these are mostly shell, with the filling making up about a third of the total volume of each bun.

Trader Joe's Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns

This is a really odd flavor combo. The bao buns just scream for something sweet, like a barbecue-style pork, but the steak-and-cheese filling is savory instead. We can’t help but feel like there’s something a little bit off about the combo. The steak is perfectly fine, and while we’d have used a provolone or swiss instead of american, the cheese isn’t bad. It’s just that altogether it’s a combo that our taste buds find a little confusing. We really do think these need something at least a little bit sweet to bring the whole thing together.

Now, these are clearly designed to be an appetizer rather than a meal, so we think the box’s two-piece serving size is apt here. If you stick with two buns you’ll consume about 210 calories and 300 mg of sodium, which isn’t bad at all for an appetizer or snack. The box contains four buns, and if you eat all four you’re up to 430 calories and 610 mg of sodium. Clearly these numbers are rounded, because the math doesn’t work perfectly.

The Trader Joe’s Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns are a miss for us. We think there are people out there who will enjoy them, but we feel like there’s some essential component that’s missing to round out the overall flavor profile. Ultimately, we prefer the Cha Siu Bao Chinese Style Pork Buns to these American-Chinese hybrids.

To learn more about the nutrition content or ingredients in these Trader Joe’s bao buns, check out our package scans below.

Trader Joe's Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns
Trader Joe's Philly Cheesesteak Bao Buns
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11 months ago

Reading this as I try the Bao’s, I knew I couldn’t be the only one thinking this. they are 1000% missing everything.

3 months ago

If your Bao buns contained 1/3 meat filling then you’re lucky. I’m guessing it’s about a half tablespoon. Way too much bun and not enough filling. I’ve had traditional bao buns and they have so much more filling, as they should. I will no purchase again.

Last edited 3 months ago by Laurel
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