Ekiben Baltimore: One of Charm City’s Not So Hidden Gems
If you live in the DMV and haven’t tried Ekiben yet, what are you doing with your life? We tried their food for the first time a few weeks back, and we’re legit pissed that we waited so long. We could’ve had at least a few hundred delish buns and bowls in our tummies by now. To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect. Everyone and their mom hyped Ekiben up so we walked in with ridiculously high expectations…that were met in every way, shape, and form.
Located on 1622 Eastern Avenue, they’re open from Monday-Thursday 11AM-10PM and Friday-Saturday 11AM-11PM. FYI, they’re closed everyday between 3:30-4:30 and on Sundays so make a note in your phone. They get HELLA busy during lunch and dinner so expect lines – it’s worth the wait though, and trust us when we say that because we don’t usually do lines, ha.
Ekiben’s Steamed Buns Are Almost Too Good To Be True
We got four different things to try and share, and everything legit blew us away, but let’s start with that gorgeous bun up thur. That’s their Neighborhood Bird, and it’s Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh topped with spicy sambal mayo, pickles and fresh herbs. It’s like a freakin’ flavor explosion in your mouth, and it’s ginormous so be ready to get your hands dirty.
The meat’s cooked to perfection and the curry flavor’s out of this world! And the texture game here is oh so strong – the fluffy, cloud-like bun (look at how artsy we are) paired with the crispy chicken and crunchy pickles? Helllll yes. We would’ve enjoyed the bao as is, but that sauce was stupid good.
Tempura Broccoli That’s Fried to Perfection
Then came their tempura broccoli, and damn, who knew broccoli could be so good. Topped with fresh herbs, red onion and rice vinegar, this was brilliantly executed. Honestly, some of the best tempura we’ve ever tasted – we’re just bummed we didn’t get it with their Chinese sausage. Welp, I guess that just means we’ll have to go back ASAP and get some more. We’re pumped though – we hear it can stop wars.
Heavenly Rice Bowls That Will Give You Foodgasms All Day, Err Day
Anddd last but not least, two of their rice bowls. We got one Tackle Box and one Pork Box – they probably had a clever name for the pork bowl, but we forgot what it was called so it’s going to be known as their Pork Box on here, ha. It’s hard to pick favorites between the two – it’s like picking your favorite child – because they were both phenomenal, but if we absolutely had to, we’d go with the pork…just because we like meat more than fish. #sorrynotsorry
The pulled pork was melt in your mouth good, and the spice level was so on point. If you can’t handle heat, you may want to get their chicken or tofu instead. With that said, it’s not overly spicy so don’t let us scare you – just giving you a heads up. Plus, the pickled veggies help keep things in check so you’ll be fine! Sidebar: it was such a smart move to pair it with queso fresco because it added a creamy texture that we loved and also cooled thangs down a bit. And the portion size was so big that we had enough for dinner!
…are you drooling yet? Ha. We’re curious to hear what you guys think though! Have you ever been to Ekiben? If yes, what did you like best from their menu? And are you a bun or rice bowl kinda human? We hope you enjoyed reading all about this famed Baltimorean joint – for more on Charm City food, check out our Maryland tab here. Until next time, Nomsters!