10 May 2013

Wonderbao: Chinese steamed buns and Taiwanese gua bao, CBD Melbourne (30 Apr 2013)

Shop 4/19-37 A'Beckett Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Cheap wonders of Melbourne

“Melbourne's street kitchen featuring authentic Chinese steamed buns and Taiwanese Gua Baos!”

My first question when visiting this place was 'where can I find a place like this in Sydney?' I'm still not sure if such a place exists but I'm pretty sure it would do extremely well around Oxford Street for late night munchies or near any university where students are on the look out for a cheap feed. Service was friendly and efficient and seating is very limited so be prepared to have as take away or try and find a milk crate outside and admire the street art and laneway bins as I did. The Roast pork belly gua bao ($3.80) with cucumber, pickled carrots & daikon & hoison sauce was my favourite of the day. I thought a great price considering it's filled with a decent amount of moist pork. The bun was lovely and soft like pillows. I was hoping for more tasty filling in Char siu bao ($2) but perhaps this one just missed out on a more generous touch. My preference was for the eggy Nai wong bao ($1.70) instead of Taro bao ($1.70). I didn't get to try my friends Da pork bao ($3.20) or Da chicken bao ($3.20) but they were quite generously filled inside. If you're not sure what F.O.B is on the menu I believe it stands for the drinks that are 'Fresh Off the Boat'.

PROS: Cheap and tasty options, Down-to-earth and efficient service
CONS: Very limited seating so more suited for takeaway
MUST TRY: Roast pork belly gua bao, Finding a place in Sydney that does the same thing
VERDICT: For a quick and simple lunch bite at a reasonable price this place ticks the box
Roast pork belly gua bao with cucumber, pickled carrots & daikon & hoison sauce ($3.80) — tasty flavours with tender piece of pork. Add a dash of chilli sauce for extra flavour punch
Braised pork belly gua bao ($3.80) — quite tasty although a little messy to eat
Fried silky tofu gua bao with pickled mustard, coriander, sweet soy sauce & crushed peanuts ($3.80)
Can't remember if this one was Da pork bao ($3.20) or Da chicken bao ($3.20)
Char siu bao ($2) — nice but a bit slim on the filling
Nai wong bao: egg custard ($1.70) — I preferred this one to the taro
Taro bao ($1.70) — if you like taro then you might like this one but was a bit heavy going for me 
Nai wong bao ($1.70), Fried silky tofu gua bao ($3.80), Braised pork belly gua bao ($3.80), Roast pork belly gua bao ($3.80)
Da pork bao ($3.20), Da chicken bao ($3.20), Char siu bao ($2), Taro bao ($1.70)

Menu — limited at a sweet price

Only a few window seats for dining in

Drinks fridge filled with FOB aka 'Fresh Off the Boat'
Chilli sauce for those who like it hot

Very Melbourne street view

Be sure to look up and check out the awesome building graphic

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Wonderbao on Urbanspoon


Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said...

I've heard good things about this little place in Melbourne! Hooray for pillowy soft buns :D Looks like they have an awesome variety of fillings here!

gummi baby said...

Great concept, those buns are so irresistible aren't they? Ippudo are serving their pork buns (along the same lines as WonDerBao's braised pork belly but without the messy bits) at their eat-in bar in Westfield Sydney. (Unfortunately they don't do take-away because they want to maintain the "quality of the eating experience" but I have to say it's worth it! :D

Annie said...

sooo many buns! i reckon a restaurant like this would do a good job in Sydney especially with the pricing

Unknown said...

The braised pork gua bao looks so juicy. Is that braised mustard leaves with it? I feel like I need to make another trip to Melbourne now!

ChopinandMysaucepan said...

Dear Simon,

I have cooked my own version of Momofuku's pork buns at home and even though I have not tried these baos before, I can safely say I would rather cook that whole slab of pork belly and prepare all those buns again because to me, they are the best.


Simon Leong said...

hi sherrie, i'd definitely visit again for a cheap bite to eat in the CBD when next in melbourne

hi annie, hopefully in time something like this will open in sydney for the steamed bun lovers

hi tambourine, i'm actually not sure what mustard leaves so you might have to ask next time you're there :-)

hi chopinandmysaucepan, your recipe looks great. i'd rather you cook the buns for me and i'll pay you to try them — me too lazy to cook :-)

Simon Leong said...

hi gummi baby, i've had the pork buns at ippudo and liked them too

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