Bao Baby Bao (Auckland CBD, New Zealand)
If you are looking for a different kind of bao then this is your place, Bao Baby Bao. If you think the usual barbecue pork filling just don’t make the cut anymore then try of their unique fillings like crispy chicken, cheese steak, softshell crab or beer battered egg plant at try. They also sell the usual dim sums like the Pork and Prawn, Chicken Lemongrass, Crab Rangoon and Mandarin Glazed Duck confit.
This place is quite popular, every time I visit Elliot Stables there is quite a queue at this place which I let pass the last couple of times but not now. I came in a bit early just to be sure, but when I arrived, it was still closed so I had a nosey on what other shops had to offer, then literally after a couple of minutes after I turned my back the place opened and to my surprise the queue was already long, I was 8th on the line but it moved quite quickly.
What I tried are their bao’s, this is what they are famous for and this is what I see people order. So, I tried two different things, first is the Philly Cheese Steak (NZ$9.00), bao filled with shaved wagyu beef, crispy onions, cheese sauce, black bean mayo and shredded cabbage. We also grabbed some Angry Bird (NZ$8.00), made with crispy free-range chicken, pickled cucumber, fresh coriander and sriracha aioli.
It was quite different, if you are used to the sweet barbecue pork filling then this is quite a very different experience, you will need to unlearn that bao to appreciate this. At first my palate was confused as the bao texture is synonymous to the Filipino Asado siopao or the Chinese char siu but once you remove that association then you will start to enjoy it. The Philly Cheese Steak was indeed cheesy, beef west tender and the black bean mayo is a good dressing for the shredded cabbage. Chicken on the other hand feels like a KFC Zinger but on a steamed bun, that was nice as well.
For the dumplings I grabbed two flavours as well first was the Pork & Prawn Dumplings 8 pcs (NZ$10.00), a dumpling filled with
pork, prawns, sesame, soy and garlic. The second one was this Chicken Dumplings 8 pcs (NZ$10.00) which is filled with chicken, lemongrass, coconut, jalapeno and pineapples. Both equally as good, another good mixture of flavours, specially the chicken where its fillings are quite unusual but it works.
Like I said this is quite unique, for Asians who already got used to the hoisin taste on steamed buns they might not like it at first but give it a second bite to fully appreciate it like I do. I love the combination of flavours, it’s your usual flavours you get on baked buns but they do work well on steamed buns as well. Serving size is OK, one bao might not be enough so I suggest you to get another bao or dumpling if you want to be full.
Bao Baby Bao
Address: 39/41 Elliott St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Phone: +649 373 3228