Thursday, 3 April 2014

Bao-licious

The tempura fish bao
Little Bao started out with a stall at East Island Markets on the weekends and received a lot of positive response. Chef/owner May Chow finally managed to find a space on Staunton Street just off Aberdeen Street and opened in October last year and it's been non-stop busy ever since.

There's a no-reservation policy so diners either have to get there very early -- before 6pm -- or come late -- after 8pm.

The favourite pork belly bun
It's been horrible weather all week and many people must have been tired of dealing with the rain so tonight was relatively quiet and my friend and I managed to get a seat after a short wait.

The restaurant is no frills -- there are seats around the open kitchen or along the wall, with everyone sitting on basic stools, which is not conducive to diners wanting to linger too much.

Nevertheless diners aren't here to hang out but to dig into the food.

Everyone comes for the baos -- mini Chinese hamburgers with steamed white buns with various stuffings with an Asian twist. There's the pork belly one (HK$78), featuring slow-braised pork with leek and shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing and a hoisin ketchup sauce that's a hearty bite.

We also had the fish tempura bun (HK$78) with a tamarind palm sugar glaze with a pickled lemongrass fennel salad that came piping hot and a good meaty chunk of fish.

It's a bit of a challenge eating these -- half my filling fell out of my bun while I was eating it! But that's part of the fun of this casual place where the music's a bit loud and kitchen staff preparing dishes in front of you.

A side dish of orange chicken
Worried the mac and cheese (HK$108), which is actually steamed rice rolls with three different kinds of cheese melted on top would be too heavy, we opted for the orange chicken (HK$98) instead.

The chicken dish was delicious, fried with a salty egg yolk honey glaze that made it savoury with a bit of tangy flavour from the orange flavour.

Another dish we tried were the LB Fries (HK$68), that were deep-fried then seasoned with roasted tomato sambal and kewpie mayo sauce. The fries tasted more on the sweet side which surprised us, but the portion size was just right for two.

The main event was the dessert and we both ordered the ice cream with salted caramel (HK$48). When we were presented with our deep-fried baos with the ice cream puck in between them, the server showed us how to eat it, but my friend mocked mortification he was manhandling her bao!

Nevertheless these were the highlight of the evening -- crunchy warm buns with a cold centre and gooey sweetness from the caramel. Yum!

Ice cream with salted caramel bao
There were a few people still standing around outside waiting to get in so we vacated our seats. We'd love to come again, but probably like today with a minimal wait time or really early...

Little Bao
66 Staunton Street
Central
2194 0202


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