There’s been a little bit of an obsession with baos and steamed buns lately, so my short trip to Melbourne had to include the much talked about Wonderbao. I first heard about it from these lovely ladies late last year who are local Melbourne bloggers and it’s been on my to-go list ever since.
Wonderbao is tucked away in an alleyway nearby RMIT University in Central Melbourne.
Home Made Soya Milk (cold) $2.80
We visit during lunch which means we’re one of many customers amongst all the uni students so we have to opt for take away as the few seats within the restaurant is all occupied. As I wait for our food to be packed up in take away bags, I sip on some cold home made soya milk. It is perfectly sweetened and is such a refreshing drink to accompany all the baos (to be eaten).
We had to find a spot along the busy Swanston St so we could plant our butts and lay out our food so we could dig in. We felt like local uni students, haha.
Front: Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao $3.80
We start off with the braised pork belly bao which is served with pickled mustard, coriander and crushed peanuts. The bun is incredibly soft and pillowy, much like the ones I’ve had at Ippudo and Momofuku. The flavoursome braised pork breaks up so easily with every bite which is heavenly. There is a generous amount of filling and it works out to be such great value, I think!
Roast Pork Belly Gua Bao $3.80
The roast pork belly bao is served with cucumber, pickled carrots & daikon and hoisin sauce. The flavours were much more simple and we found that simple went a long way. Super tender pork with a bit of crunch from the vegetables – it really did remind me of the steamed pork bun I had at Momofuku Seiobo. What brought this baby to another level was a nice splash of sriracha hot sauce.
Fried Silky Tofu Gua Bao $3.80
The tofu bao had pickled mustard, coriander, sweet soy sauce and crushed peanuts. I felt the flavours were very similar to the braised pork belly gua bao, except for the protein used. I loved the texture that the tofu had given.
Char Siu Bao $2
Going back to basics we had to try the original char siu bao. The flavour of the BBQ pork was great and we had a decent amount of filling. The bun itself had a nice soft doughy texture, much like how it should be. No complaints here, and especially for the price.
Braised & Roast Pork Belly Gua Bao (again) ft. sriracha
We enjoyed Wonderbao so much that we made an effort to make a return the very next day! Big fans, we sure are! Of course the boy goes for the meat baos. After eating both the pork gua baos again, he concludes that he prefers the roast pork belly gua bao for the simplicity of flavours (and I agree!)
Nai Wong Bao $1.70 & Choi Bao $2
I decide to try 2 different menu items.
The shitake, tofu and vegetable filled bao (choi bao) was quite nice. There was still texture in the fillings but of all the baos, though, this one would have had to have been the weakest in terms of flavour.
The velvety egg custard filling in the nai wong bao makes me weak at the knees. I was very impressed with the ratio of filling to dough. It was the one bao that took me by surprise and it was the perfect way to end my wonderbao experience.
We decide to kick on with our bao journey and head to Bao Now, which we found out about from his Sister from a trip just weeks before. It’s right across the street from the oh so popular Hardware Societe (post to come soon).
The interesting international menu with a not so traditional bao fillings.
Savoury Baos $3 each
Top: New York Buffalo Chicken & LA California Bacon Cheeseburger
Bottom: New Dehli Butter Chicken & Hong Kong BBQ Pork
We definitely get suckered in by some of the names!
The NY Buffalo Chicken was a bit odd as I tasted more vegetables than anything. There’s meant to be a hit of hot sauce and ranch but I did not get that at all. The LA Bacon Cheeseburger had all the right flavours. It essentially was a mushed up cheeseburger, haha. The butter chicken didn’t have that curry flavour that usually shines so brightly. There was a little something missing. And lucky last, the char siu bao wasn’t anything great. There was very little filling and it was quite dry. I didn’t feel the love unfortunately.
The buns itself were rather heavy (much compared to Wonderbao) and filled us up quite quickly. The ratio of filling to dough was a bit inconsistent over the 4 we ordered so it’s kind of a hit and miss. I give Bao Now props for the idea and thought however the flavours didn’t hit the spot for me.
Shop 4/19-37 A’Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
119 Hardware St
Melbourne, VIC 3000