MAKING MO: Three Fold makes its steamed bun from scratch in house. Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co.

Is there a more fastidious restaurateur in Central Arkansas than Lisa Zhang, owner of Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co.? The last time I interviewed her she told me that she had determined that one dumpling includes 24 ingredients and takes 21 steps to finish.

Today, in similar spirit, the restaurant’s Facebook page delves into the process for making the “mo,” or buns (usually served in sandwich form at Three Fold):

When people see the slogan on the back of our shirts, “There’s alway room for mo,” we are often asked what “mo” is. The short answer is that it’s a term, used mainly in western China, for the bread used for a Chinese sandwich called roujiamo (肉夹馍).

The mo used at Three Fold, however, is closer to Mantou (馒头), which is a Chinese steamed bun found mainly in Northeastern China. Similar to a western bread or roll, the mo is made purely of water, yeast, and flour. Since it’s steamed, the texture is soft and fluffy, so it can be enjoyed by itself (where one can taste the aromatic bread, 面香), paired with sauces (we recommend our chili seeds), or in sandwich form (as served at Three Fold).

This seemingly simple bun is created through much labor and much more love. The process of kneading the dough takes a lot of hard work and patience. Just as other cultures require unique techniques in their bread making processes, our bun making requires special proofing and steaming techniques as well. The complete process, from making the bun to the numerous ingredients used to make our sandwich, takes 23 steps, as every part of the bun is made in house, from scratch.

Very much looking forward to more food history, behind-the-scenes posts from Three Fold. The restaurant is calling the series #foodwithroots.