One of the newest pop-ups to hit Sydney feature the trendy ‘bao’ – warm, fluffy buns which house both savoury and sweet fillings. This collaboration is founded by fellow food blogger Theresa (aka. The Gook) and Vella Nero, a coffee specialist cafe which is also housing the pop-ups.
Bao Town is a modern take on the traditional Chinese steamed bun, with quirky fusion flavours which showcase Theresa’s creativity and passion for food. Her baos are also low in sugar and salt, and don’t taste as artificial as some restaurant ones. They’re great for snacks and are only $3.50 a bao, or $10 for 3. But enough chat, let’s cut to the bao tasting!
The first bao is a miso eggplant accompanied by a dollop of ginger coriander sauce on top. It contains sweet eggplant slow roasted with shiro miso, sake, mirin and sesame seeds. I find there isn’t a lot of ginger in the sauce, instead there is a lot of coriander.
Coconut Pork Belly
Next up is a pork belly filling which has been slow cooked for 4 hours in young coconut juice, soy ‘n’ fish sauce and star anise. Definitely a favourite, with the fatty pork belly and soy undertones leaving me licking my lips and grabbing a second serving!
Beef Bo Kho
This bao consists of a traditional beef stew slow cooked in soy sauce, tomato, lemongrass and cinnamon. Meaty and comforting, the stew marinade sauce is delicious with the bun.
Yellow Chicken Curry
The final savoury bao is the yellow chicken curry which consists of chicken curry made with tumeric, curry leaves, fish sauce and coconut cream. It’s my favourite of all the savoury baos – who needs roti and curry when you can just have a curry chicken bao!
Sweet Lemon Polenta
Following this are some sweet baos, and I’ll have to admit I had initial hesitations about whether this would work because the combo of polenta with lemon was so unconventional. But I was wrong. The lemon polenta was a hit! Zesty and sweet with a thick consistency, it was just like a custard bun but with lemon custard filling instead.
Molten Chocolate by Marou
The last sweet bao is the molten chocolate filled with Marou Tiền Giang 70% cocoa chocolate. This bao had everyone so excited, especially with that liquid gold oozing out of the bun. Amazebaos.
The molten chocolate bao went really well with Vella Nero’s iced Vietnamese coffee which they have created especially for the pop-up – it’s a twist on the traditional ca phe sua da, with the familiar notes of sweet condensed milk mixed with coffee refreshingly served up on ice.
I really hope that Theresa’s pop-up is a success, and that we can one day have more baos readily available everywhere. But until then, make sure to check out the pop-up and grab one while it’s hot!
Upcoming Dates: 2nd November, 7th December 2013
Location: Vella Nero Shop 3/259 Clarence Street, Sydney