Having grown up in a family where eating baos (buns) for breakfast, and having a relative who owns an asian bakery store, it means I get to have freshly made buns whenever I request. It came to a point where I was eating baos so often I became sick of it.
Just recently two major bao shops entered into the Melbourne dining scene; Wonderbao and Bao Now. Wonderbao sells the traditional baos whereas Bao Now sells the contemporary buns. I’ve visited both a few times now, but each time I didn’t have my trusty DSLR with me, so I haven’t done a blog entry on it yet.
So for the purpose of this blog (Yes Audrey, I know you’re going…pssh as if for the blog) I decided to order 2 savouries and 2 sweets plus a drink to review (In all honesty 1 savoury and 1 sweet is enough for me). At the time of ordering, I felt so embarassed LOL. I usually dont eat that much you know!
At Wonderbao they serve two types of drinks, soy milk (warm and cold) or FOB drinks (Yeo brand boxed drinks).
I love my soy milk especially freshly made soy milk. For those who have ever attempted to make soy milk from scratch you will appreciate the fact that it’s a very labour intensive job. I’m not talking about those soy milk making machines, but the manual way – soaking the beans over night, blending the beans and then using a muslin cloth to then extract all the soy juice and then boil the juice in a pot to make it into soy milk! Yes, I have made soy milk before, and it’s so much work and time consuming.
When I have freshly made soy milk my only concern is whether it is boiled properly and whether or not I’m left with a floury after taste. Luckily here at Wonderbao the soy milk was boiled properly and did not taste raw, and there was no floury taste, plus it was nice and cold! :)
The two savouries I ordered are in fact vegetarian options. I will do a meat version review in the near future!
The first time I visited Wonderbao I tried their Braised Pork Belly version of their Gua Bao, I found it to be ok but found the sauce to be too much that it seemed to be overpowering. The second time I visited I ordered their Fried Silky Tofu Gua Bao, and fell in love with it!
Gua Bao is a popular Taiwanese snack that’s been made famous by Momofuku. Gua Bao (Sliced Wrapper – Direct translation), that is made up of a steam bread bun that has various toppings.
The Gua Baos here at Wonderbao are made to order, so you can be assured that the Gua Baos are freshly made.
The fried silky tofu is deep fried after the order is placed, and then placed on a beautiful steamed white bread bun, followed by a generous squeeze of sweet soy sauce, pickled mustards, coriander and crushed peanuts! Oh so heavenly!
The fried silky tofu is lightly crisp on the outside, and super silky soft in the inside. The sweet soy sauce is slightly thick and gives the whole gua bao the flavour, where as the crushed peanuts and pickled peanuts gave it the texture!
In general I avoid Chinese Vegetarian food because of their weird mock meat and things like that. In the past I have tried Choi(Vege) Baos, I’ve never liked it because it was too sweet in tasting. I’ve avoided them for so many years but this time I was willing to give it a try at Wonderbao, and I’m so glad I did, because I really liked it! Their Choi Bao fillings contain, shittake mushrooms, tofu, and veggies. The veggies I believe are carrots, cabbage, and I have a strong feeling it’s black fungus that gives it a crunchy chewy texture, and it’s black too!
In terms of the bao skin, it is slightly thick, but hey if the baos are going to contain a large amount of filling, you would need something thick enough to hold it, without it dropping all over the place!
The taro bao has a natural taro taste, and doesn’t look like the artificial purple taros that you sometimes see. It’s not crazy sweet and they are quite generous with the filling as well!
As for the Nai Wong Bao, it’s always been my personal favourite as I love custard! Whilst it looks really yellow, the egg custard is very smooth and eggy! Yum!
The bao skin for both the taro and egg custard baos are very thin so you won’t find yourself having to chew through a lot of bao skin before you get to the filling!
Whilst it may not be the easiest location to find, and the store being quite small, the baos they offer are great, and it means I can eat fresh baos now instead of frozen ones from the super market! Needless to say I frequent this place for work lunch on a weekly basis :D