Bao — these Chinese steamed sensations have taken Wellington's food scene by storm, and we may have found the perfect ones. Located in the exciting Press Hall eating establishment, you'll find a busy kiosk constantly bumping out bao to hungry lunch-goers and afternoon grazers. From the masters that brought you the iconic Dragonfly on Courtenay Place, comes Bao Boy. It may be different, but the commitment to excellence, quality and taste remains the same.
If you haven't been to Press Hall yet, then here's your excuse. Front and centre in the sleek, industrial chic space is Bao Boy — but after your first bite you'll become pretty familiar with them (trust me). Although the menu is small, don't expect your lunchtime decision to be any easier. Offerings include the Breaking Bao (bacon, tamagoyaki egg, chilli jam and spring onions), Vegetabao (crispy tofu, Asian slaw, pickled shiitake mushroom and a drizzle of miso mayo), and for the health conscious, a Buddha Bowl (cos lettuce, tofu, red cabbage, house made pickles, miso mayo and sesame seeds).
We tried the Incredibao and Unbelievabao (both $6.90) and believe me when I say that these names are totally fitting. The Incredibao (pork, Asian slaw, black mustard seed pickles, oyster sauce and sesame seeds) was delectably naughty. A thick slab of pork tossed in flavours that are sweet, sour and salty — a truly winning combination. The pork was soft and tender, while the slaw offered a contrasting crunch. The Unbeleivabao (spiced chicken, iceberg lettuce, pickled red onion, barbecue sauce), was just as fabulous. The chicken is subtly spiced and complemented with a smoky barbecue sauce. Tangy pickled onion cuts through those heavy flavours and the lettuce is gorgeous palate cleanser. The steamed buns are smooth and dense and provide a tantalising texture of their own.
Bao Boy also offers a five-piece of chicken and coriander dumplings if you're looking for some pot sticker realness. Don't forget to add an order of baonuts to your order — dessert is the most important meal of the day, after all. These are deep fried milk bun doughnuts served with condensed milk, cinnamon sugar and a black doris plum drizzle.
Bao Boy is perfect for a little something something to tie you over during that three-thirtyitis lull. If you want to make it more of a substantial meal, then I certainly recommend getting two.