Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review | Wonderbao

Ever since hearing about Wonderbao, I had been squirming in my seat, waiting and waiting for the day that I could finally visit and try the goodness that is steamed baos. Not working in the CBD has many advantages for me, but I suddenly realised one massive disadvantage - not being walking distance to these little buns. In the mean time, I got by, with a daily intake of Wonderbao, visually. Facebook, urbanspoon, instagram. I was stalking these baos!

So, you can imagine my excitement when I finally ventured into the boundaries of the city, with my heart set on some steamed baos for lunch. I won't lie, it took us about five minutes to figure out exactly where Wonderbao was, but we made it in the end!

Now steaming!

Wonderbao itself is in a little shop, with the majority of the space taken up by the kitchen. There is limited seating, but since the customers are mainly for takeaway, it's not much of a problem at all. We quickly jumped in the queue and read through the little menu while we were waiting. We decided on a Cheung chay bao, a Char siu bao, a Braised pork belly gua bao and a Roast pork belly gua bao. Since the gua bao's are made fresh to order, we were notified that there would be a 5 minute wait on our order, which was fine! We scored two seats at the bench, and happily observed the busy little joint. To my surprise, our order was brought out to us not much longer. I almost didn't get photos because E and I were so keen to start eating, luckily he has good discipline!!

The Cheung chay bao (Chinese sausage bao) was different to what I was expecting. It was basically like an asian version of Pigs in a Blanket - where the sausage is wrapped up in the soft dough. Even though I am crazy for Chinese sausage, this didn't wow me. I cannot fault this bao, I think it is everything that it sets out to be. I imagined it to be chopped up pieces of Chinese sausage with some yummy herbs and spices all inside the soft bao dough, and I think my own imagination cause me to be let down by this one. 

Char siu bao (front) and Cheung chay bao (back) - $2 each

Next up was the Char siu bao (BBQ pork). This one was delicious! It was even better with some Sriracha chilli sauce drizzled over the top. The filling seemed really fresh and flavoursome, and something was just that little bit nicer than the usual mass produced yum cha style BBQ pork bun.

Inside the Char siu bao

Next in line were the gua baos, which in my mind, are like the asian version of burgers! I can't tell you what gua bao means, or where this treat originates from, but I can definitely tell you that they are super tasty. My previous encounter with a gua bao was also delicious, so I was hoping these would not disappoint me.

They didn't!

The Braised pork belly gua bao was probably my favourite of everything. For me, the combination of the soft, juicey, tender pork, with coriander and the crushed peanuts is a winning one. Add to that the perfectly pillowy bao dough, and you've got yourself one tasty little burger!

Braised pork belly gua bao (front) & Roast pork bellow gua bao (back) - $3.80 each

The Roast pork belly gua bao was also very tasty. The flavours from the fresh cucumber and pickled carrots, along with the daikon and hoisin sauce complimented the tender pork really nicely. Daikon is also known as Japanese radish or White radish, and had a nice refreshing taste.

After plowing through those four menu items, E and I were both still on a bit of a Wonderbao high and order some more food.... for the purposes of blogging (ahem). E minded our seats while I went up to order us a Fried silky tofu gua bao and Nai wong bao (Egg custard goodness!) each, and a refreshing cup of cold homemade soya milk. 

After a short wait, our food and drink was again brought out to where we were sitting and I was filled with joy in anticipation of how yummy the egg custard bun was going to be. I love egg custard buns!

The cold soya milk was very refreshing, and tasted nothing like the 'regular' soy milk you would buy from the shops. I didn't quite like the taste, but I think I would like the hot version. E loved it and sipped it all up down to the last drop.

Leaving the most exciting until last, we dove into our tofu gua baos, and I discovered that these weren't called 'silky' tofu gua baos for nothing! This tofu was a pure delight. Along with the corander and crushed peanuts, this gua bao was a winner. I think I like this one equally as much as the Braised pork belly gua bao.

Fried silky tofu gua bao - $3.80 each, Egg custard bun - $1.70 each, with a Cold soya milk - $2.8

*Drum Roll* It was now time for the Egg Custard buns! If you know me, you will know how much I love Egg Custard buns. My sister has pioneered a step by step process for eating these buns, which I employ every time, and of course teach to whoever I am eating with. It is now my pleasure to share it with you!
Step 1: Carefully peel off paper from the base of the bun, being careful not to burn your fingers. 
Step 2: If necessary, leave the bun to sit a little to cool down to 'not burning fingertips' temperature.
Step 3: Carefully break the bun in half.
Step 4: Take some time to smell the goodness of the custard in the bun, and reflect on just how tasty it is going to be.
Step 5: Put one half down, and using both hands, bring a half bun to your mouth and take a small bit out of it. It is important that you make this very specific sound effect while biting into the bun.
Step 6: Enjoy the rest of the bun. Note, biting sound effect is only necessary for the first bite into the bun.

Inside the Egg custard bun

Needless to say, the Egg Custard buns from Wonderbao were great. Please try one if you are there!

I'm looking forward to returning to Wonderbao, and hopefully trying some more of the baos.

Wonderbao on Urbanspoon


Em said...

Lol at the egg custard bun eating process! Now the whole world knows...

I didn't get to try and egg custard bun when I went and I totally want one now, thanks for the review!

Peach said...

Bahahaha - For the purpose of the blog - exactly the same thing I did!

And yeah - I have to agree: Wonderbao is so discreet, and hard to find, but hey they are definitely getting the buzz and people are getting there!

:) Great review Sophie :)

Anonymous said...

Another great way to enjoy baos, is to carefully peel off the skin membrane of the bao, until left with the rough texture, and then proceed to step 3. :)

Hersheytrails said...

Eating the skin as well of course!