Skip to main content

The Asian Persuasion for Charleston Foodies

Charleston, South Carolina is blowin’ up as a must visit foodie destination with Husk, Fig and Hominy Grill winning accolades around the country. But tourists and locals alike can enjoy only so much pork cheek and grits. That’s why Xiao Bao Biscuit is a welcome addition to the scene. Their style of cooking is playfully described by the owners themselves as ‘select dishes from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam prepared locally and inspired by kick-ass grandmothers everywhere. We could have had about 12 orders of the dumplings, and the savory ramen was off the chart.

We spoke to co-owner Joshua Walker to hear more about their concept and what’s next.

Tell us how you describe your restaurant?

It’s Asian soul food, a curated selection of our favorite simple comfort foods from Asia and South East Asia. Southern food and Asian food have more than a few things in common and we try and show that with dishes which exist in places across the globe but still feel appropriate for our setting.

Why Charleston?

We left New York City, quit our jobs and had a seven month honeymoon visiting friends and family in Asia.  My family has roots in South Carolina and what started as a place to move our stuff while we traveled soon became a home.

What did your space used to be?

It’s been many things, but originally it was a gas station.

What has been the most popular dish so far?

Okonomiyaki –  which basically means “as you like it” in Japanese.  Essentially, it’s a cabbage pancake with different vegetables topped with kewpie, a sweet soy based sauce, furikake (rice seasoning) and sriracha.  Additions can include a fried egg, pork belly or what we call pork cotton candy (a dry thinly shredded pork).

Is there anything Southerners may like more than other people around the nation food wise?

I think people in Charleston appreciate the good things, however they may come. Of course, fried food and a good biscuit is rarely looked down upon.

What is next for Xiao Bao?

We try and take it one day at a time. Right now, we’re building our outdoor garden space underneath the awning where the gas pumps used to be.  We want to build it so it’s outdoor space but also a nice oasis from the street traffic. We will have built-in seating  that will allow some additional tables since the weather in Charleston is warm almost year round. We will also add  planter boxes with some lattice work and climbing plants.

All restaurant images care of

Food photography care of

Cator Sparks
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Cator Sparks was the Editor-in-Chief of The Manual from its launch in 2012 until 2018. Previously, Cator was covering…
Your guide to the pescatarian diet for healthier living
If you're considering a new way of eating, this may be the perfect diet for you
Pea puree with fish

Are you thinking of changing your diet? If a healthier you is on the to-do list this year, you might consider the pescatarian diet. At its core, the pescatarian diet eliminates all meat except for fish and seafood. Plenty of research tells us eating red meat increases your chances of heart disease and even death by 3% to 7%. The study even suggests that eating poultry twice a week increases these risks by 4%.

You may have heard of the Blue Zone Diet. If you're not familiar, Blue Zones are areas around the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives. The research was conducted by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow and bestselling author. These zones are located in Japan, Italy, Costa Rica, Greece, and California. There are a number of practices you can put in place to follow the Blue Zone Diet if you wish. However, for our purposes, it's simply important to note that the people living the longest and healthiest lives were neither vegans nor meat-eaters. They're pescatarians.
What is the pescatarian diet?

Read more
The 11 best grill and smoker recipes to make now
Tasty recipes to cook on your gas, charcoal, or pellet grill
Ducks in the Pig Pen

It's that time of year again when we neglect our Dutch ovens, slow cookers, and air fryers for our outdoor char-grilling and smoking devices. It doesn't matter if you're cooking with gas, charcoal, or pellets. The main is you're outside enjoying the nice weather with a a cold beer.

While everyone loves a tasty burger or hot dog, they can get boring after a while. Sometimes, we want to flex our culinary muscles at our grills and for anyone else who may be just hanging around us for the cold beer.

Read more
How to brunch like the French with lobster croissant and champagne
Chef Geoffrey Lechantoux at Maison Close shares his insights on lobster and frog legs for brunch.
Closeup of croissant lobster

The dining room of Maison Close. Maison Close

Brunch, that relaxing weekend breakfast of cocktails, omelets, and conversation with friends, is always a great time. But how about brunch with a French twist? Instead of eggs benedict or a spicy shakshuka, why not foie gras or a lobster brunch? We could all use a bit of luxury sometimes.

Read more