Mao Bao sheng jian bao

ICE Alumni at New York City Food Markets

Catch these three vendors at open-air markets in three boroughs before the season ends.

Mao Bao serves sheng jian bao at Smorgasburg WTC.

America’s culinary capital has an ever-evolving roster of food markets and pop-ups throughout the year, perhaps none as famous as Smorgasburg, which has grown to four locations with more than 100 vendors since its 2011 debut. The more recent Queens International Night Market has extended its dates this (its fifth) season and launched a Rockefeller Center outpost.

Among the authentic, internationally inspired flavors at these weekly events are alumni Stephanie Del Carmen’s (Culinary, '18) Latin American tamales, Hendra Lie’s (Culinary, ‘15) popular Balinese dish and Edward (Eddie) Mao's (Management, '18) Chinese sheng jian bao.

Stephanie came to New York from Colombia, studied Culinary Arts for a year at ICE and trained under Daniela Soto-Ines at Cosme for her externship before traveling to the Caribbean to continue researching Latin American flavors, recipes and traditions. She drew from these experiences to develop her concept, La TropiKitchen, which joined Smorgasburg’s Saturday iteration in Williamsburg this year.

"I knew it would be a dream come true to participate in such an important platform with other culturally significant and carefully curated food concepts," she says. "The admission process is very selective and competitive. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate. Smorgasburg attracts a diverse group of 25,000 people per weekend and that presents the ideal scenario for testing new ideas."


This photo was taken on film my first week @smorgasburg. Thank you @estebanabdalatc.

A post shared by #latropikitchen (@latropikitchen) on

La TropiKitchen offers beef, chicken, pork and cheese tamales, along with a vegan tamal combining sweet plantains, smoked eggplant, epazote and black beans, and a unique pineapple tamal with anise, brown butter and golden raisins. The Caribbean concept is pouring tropical juices throughout summer.

Also available at Saturday’s Smorgasburg — along with Sundays at Prospect Park, Wednesdays in Hudson Yards and Fridays at World Trade Center, near campus — is Eddie’s new Mao Bao, where he crafts Shanghai’s staple pan-fried bun. The menu of sheng jian bao features the traditional pork filling, plus beef with vegetables, chicken with corn, lamb with cumin and even an “impossibao” with Impossible Burger filling.

“Sheng jian bao originated in the Shanghai region, an hour drive from my family’s home town [Hangzhou, China],” Eddie explained. “I fell in love with the way some of the master sheng jian bao chefs were creating their dishes. I spent most of my early childhood visiting the many stalls and restaurants, fascinated by the different ways you could cook the very same thing.”

Eddie Mao launched Mao Bao in 2016.
Eddie Mao launched Mao Bao in 2016.

A self-proclaimed "dumpling and bao aficionado," Eddie first studied traditional Chinese medicine and then traveled to a new country every year trying cultural variations of bao before enrolling in ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program to develop his bao-based business plan. “I have tried to put everything I have learned through my rich cultural upbringing and Eastern holistic philosophy into what I do now,” he says. “I help hand select the ingredients, from the flour to the highest-quality meats. Baos can be filled with a plethora of flavors and tastes. I do not believe that a bao must be one color nor be folded in one way.”

His Instagram-worthy versions appear orange, yellow, green, white and purple and are available daily at a kiosk on The High Line in addition to the Smorgasburg schedule.

While Eddie celebrates that “bao” means “inclusive,” Culinary Arts grad Hendra named his Indonesian street food concept, Warung Jancook, after the Malay word for family-owned food businesses and Indonesian term for amazement. Among the traditional small plates and snack foods, he specializes in Sate Lilit, chicken satay wrapped around (“lilit”) a skewer and seasoned with coconut, sugar and spices.

"I developed the concept of introducing Southeast Asian cuisine, especially the gastronomy of Indonesia where I am from, so people can be familiar with my country’s street foods as well as the culture that is carried in the spices and flavor of the cuisine," Hendra says. "ICE educated me on how to bring the business to a bigger market."

Find Warung Jancook at the Queens International Night Market on Saturdays, from Sept. 14 through Oct. 26, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Develop your food business idea in ICE's Restaurant & Culinary Management program.

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