Opening hours: 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 11am-4pm Sat (if I'm not mistaken)
Date visited: 19th November 2012
Wonderbao, I wonder why it took me so long to visit you seeing you are less than five minutes from where I live?
Well, to answer my own question, MerlinFan was totally disillusioned with the new bao boom that has overtaken Melbourne after our dismal visit to Bao Now the other day, stating she could get better and cheaper baos at her beloved Nam Loong. So, I waited patiently for a day MerlinFan was away at work when I decided to take a trip down to Wonderbao and see for myself.
I'd seen previous blogs about how difficult it was initially to find Wonderbao, and that most people came through Little La Trobe St down Literature Lane to the end of the alleyway where Wonderbao was located. I came from the Franklin St side of the CBD, so on the way back I realised duh, I should have just trusted my instincts and come down from A'Beckett St, for Wonderbao is also accessible via the glass doors on the building/mall 19-37 A'Beckett St (right beside A'Beckett Tower apartment). So if you're coming down from the Franklin St side, you can cut through Stewart St and don't have to walk around the whole new RMIT building like me, okay @_@
|Two ways to get to Wonderbao!|
Anyways, I'm late on the bandwagon, and many people have already posted photos of the interior and frontage of Wonderbao, as well as the menu so I'm not even going to bother. As you probably already know, they do a few traditional baos, two sweet baos and some gua baos. Check out their menu on Wonderbao's facebook page.
It was only 10.30am when I got here, following a pack of Asian Uni students, and all the seats by the window were already taken. No matter, as I'd planned to getting my baos takeaway anyway.
I was up doing chores for the last four hours (since 6.30am when MerlinFan woke me up when she left for work) so I was ravenous. And imagining these were going to be tiny delicate baos, I decided I would get a Char siu bao, a Da chicken bao and a sweet bao for dessert. Then I saw the actual size of the baos steaming and bulked LOL.
I got instead two baos, which were packed very nicely into a paper tray and a brown paper bag.
I got myself a Da Pork Bao and a Nai Wong Bao. Look at the size comparison with my F.O.B lychee drink (my own, I didn't get it from the shop but they sell them for $1.60 each).
|Nai wong bao (left), Da pork bao (right)|
|Man sized! Cute WonderBao paper on the bottom.|
To be honest, I got the Da Pork Bao by mistake. I actually wanted the Char Siu Bao but I just saw the word PORK (tunnel vision in hunger) and told the girl at the counter I wanted the pork bao.
|Da pork bao $3.20|
The bao skin was quite thick on the top, but it was soft and fluffy, without any yeasty aftertaste, and actually quite a delight to devour! Now the filling was a tightly packed ball of minced pork, perfectly seasoned with the textural crunch of water chestnuts and a slice of egg. It totally brought me back to fond memories of the giant pork bao our aunt used to buy for us when we were little kids. The shiitake mushroom was a nice touch too - juicy and tasted like the mushrooms boiled in a soy soup my family loves to cook. I should mention as well, the only reason why I wasn't so keen on the Da pork bao was because of the Chinese sausage in it - the fatty sweetness and distinct smell always made me a bit queasy, so I ate that as fast as possible, trying not to taste it.
The bao smelt sooo good that as I was savouring one half, my cat sneakily jumped on the table and before long I realised he was happily lapping at my bao!
|Nooooo!!!! <Luke Skywalker scream of anguish>|
Next was my Nai Wong (egg custard) Bao, which was pretty big for only $1.70. Again, the skin was pretty thick as you can probably see too. The paste was eggy and buttery smooth, with enough stick and sliminess to keep me happy. There was something very familiar about the fragrance of the custard, and only after I was halfway through the bao, I realised it reminded me of kaya, just not as sweet.
|Nai Wong Bao $1.70|
Click here for second visit to Wonderbao
<a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1696097/restaurant/CBD/Wonderbao-Melbourne"><img alt="Wonderbao on Urbanspoon" src="http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1696097/biglink.gif" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>