These fluffy baos with unique, lip-smacking fillings have made their presence felt in the culinary landscape in Mumbai for a while now and seem to be growing in popularity. Traditionally filled with braised pork, pickles, mustard and peanuts, served daily in Taiwan’s famous night markets, David Chang, an American chef with South Korean heritage, is widely regarded to be the man, bringing bao to the masses from his New York restaurant Momofuku in 2004. A host of places in Mumbai offer baos with their own special twist. My top 5 picks :
The Patty Bao, at The Fatty Bao, Andheri West, Western Suburbs
Minced lamb in the form of a neat patty, with gherkins and a black bean sauce, filled generously in a bao, makes for a delightful snack in this season. The Fatty Bao, Andheri offers a plethora of delectable baos firmly anchored in fresh Asian flavours. Vegetarians can relish the Crispy Beet Patty Bao which is bursting with flavours.
Peking Duck Bao at Shizusan, Phoenix Market City, Kurla
This roast duck bao with scallions, cucumber, sesame and creamy hoisin sauce, is just what you need to perk up your taste buds in this weather. A melange of textures and flavours, in every bite, this one is an unparalleled treat for carnivores.
Prawn Tempura Bao at Asia Kitchen by Mainland China, Andheri East
This open bao, with a well-fried prawns tempura, is aesthetically presented and soul-satisfying. The green apple kimchi adds to the flavour quotient, making this a delicious and satiating snack.
Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Cheddar Cheese and Banana Ketchup at Dirty Buns, Lower Parel, South Mumbai
This fun dining place with colour and zest, mesmerizes your taste buds with a host of exciting offerings. The baos here are unique, quirky and bursting with flavours. The Bacon and Scrambled Eggs Bao is satiating and will please any carnivore. The pan-seared Tofu Bao with Pineapple Chutney is equally a palate pleaser and tickles your taste buds.
Buttermilk Chicken Bao at Fuu Qin, Juhu, Western Suburbs
This alluring black bao with a uniquely-flavoured buttermilk chicken filling, which is full of crunch and flavours, is an outstanding offering. The in-house spicy mayo and yellow cheddar, further adds depth of flavour and leaves you craving for more.
Food critic, features writer and columnist, Mini Ribeiro is a qualified Journalist, from IIMC New Delhi. She specialises in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality space. As an established food & beverage writer, Mini currently contributes to several leading English publications across the country – Asian Age, Hindustan Times, Sunday Financial Express, Hotelier India, Go Getter and Vistara inflight magazines and Rediff.com. She also has her own You Tube channel called Mini’s Food Fundas. Fond of cooking, Mini enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with various cuisines, with Indian regional food, being her favourite. She has recently started, a platform for home talent, called 'Flavours from Home', an initiative which aims to make women who are passionate about cooking, entrepreneurs.