Xiao Bao Biscuit Staff Pick Image

Hours: Lunch, Dinner (Mon.-Sat.)

Price: $$$

Charleston’s eater intelligentsia worships at the altar of this hipster-filled Asian fusion restaurant in a converted gas station. What started as a pop-up with a devout following eventually found a dedicated shrine much to the delight of all who crave a wide swath of Asian flavors (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Taiwanese) interpreted with fresh Lowcountry ingredients. The dishes are not for the meek or unadventurous; each packs escalating levels of heat. On the gentler scale is the popular okonomiyaki, a Japanese cabbage pancake criss-crossed with drizzles of sriracha and Japanese mayo, then topped with a runny-yolk egg. On the spicy end of the scale is the mapo dofu, whose cubes of tofu incinerate your taste buds with swirls of chili oil, leaving heat seekers crying through tears of gratitude as they lick their plates clean. Cool your palate with a coconut milk or a (nonalcoholic) lemongrass ginger beer. Or just ride out on a blaze of fiery glory with a peppercorn craft cocktail like the Sichuan Sting. Either way, you are sure to become a devotee of the cult of Xiao Bao. —Allston McCrady (Dish, Winter 2019)

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Price: $$$

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