Manhattan – Lower East Side
137 Rivington St between Norfolk and Suffolk Sts
Gua bao are Taiwanese steamed buns variously filled with pork belly, skirt steak or pan-fried tofu, and topped with crushed peanuts, cilantro and Taiwanese red sugar. Eddie Huang, a young entrepreneur, opened this tiny snack shop on a shoestring, tweaking his mother's recipes and decorating the spot with family photos and a wavy blue communal table. It's quality street food—costing more than what you'd find in Chinatown, but worth it for the well-sourced, hormone- and antibiotic-free ingredients.