Address: G/F, 66 Staunton Street, Central 中環士丹頓街66號地下
Telephone: 2194 0202
When Hong Kongers like something, we tend to go a bit crazy on it, and currently there is certainly a city-wide obsession with baos. Gua baos originated in Taiwan, where tasty ingredients are stuffed into a folded steamed bun. These gua baos then became mainstream in the Western society with the help of renowned restaurants such as Momofuku in New York.
Little Bao is a small, intimate restaurant opened by a sophisticated, immensely hip lady called May. It is the first restaurant in Hong Kong that specialises in baos, but note that this is not the first restaurant which became famous for its baos – before Little Bao opened, Ippudo was the first restaurant in Hong Kong which served a famously alluring pork belly bun!
There are a few things you need to know about Little Bao – firstly, it doesn’t take reservations and you will easily have to wait for one to two hours (unless you come at 6pm or on a rainy day); secondly, the prices are not cheap at all for their portions; and thirdly, their baos are super tasty!
(1) We ordered a Gin & Juice ($78), made with cucumber, gin, lime and ginger, and it was incredibly delicious! The cucumber and lime offered light, refreshing notes, while the ginger and gin gave this drink an awesome kick.
(2) The Yuzu Leaf ($82) was completely enjoyable too. Made with Bourbon, yuzu, maple and lemon, this drink was very alcoholic but also easy to drink at the same time, and the strong taste of whiskey was sheer pleasure.
(3) We ordered a “Mac & Cheese” ($108), which was steamed rice rolls baked in a mentaiko cheese sauce. I was very surprised by how tasty their cocktails were, and this appetiser surprised me once more as it was utterly scrumptious! The rice rolls were soft and supple, the cheese sauce was thick and rich and the top layer was pleasantly crispy.
There was some “KY Hawt Sauce” if you preferred your food spicy. Let’s just say that we weren’t the only customers who found this sauce questionable.
(4) We ordered a portion of Truffle Fries ($98), which was not on the regular menu. The fries were magnificently crunchy and the truffle mayo tasted fine and distinctive, but there was a tad too much going on in this dish, and I found the pickled daikon a particularly distracting addition.
(5) The long-awaited Pork Belly Bao ($78) finally arrived, and it was definitely worth the hype! The slow-braised pork belly, leek & shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing and hoisin ketchip interacted perfectly, forming a symphony of well-balanced, gorgeous flavours in the mouth. It is worth noting that Little Bao does a sandwich version of baos, which is slightly different from the typical Taiwanese gua baos where the buns are folded.
(6) The Fish Tempura Bao ($78) was also delightful – the tempura fish was fresh, tender and beautifully fried, and the tamarind sugar glaze and pickled lemongrass fennel salad were a sophisticated match with the fish.
(7) The LB Ice Cream Sandwich ($48) has gone viral on Instragram, and has justifiably done so. A piece of mouthwatering green tea ice cream is sandwiched between crispy, deep fried baos and drizzled in condensed milk. This sounds addictive? It surely was! The size of this ice cream sandwich was a bit small though, which is hard to tell from the photo below.
(8) The Ice Cream Bao ($48) was another item which was off the regular menu. Hardened salt ice cream was drizzled in caramel sauce in this bao. While the sweet and salty sensation was interesting, it was overall not sweet enough for me as a dessert.
Before I came to Little Bao, I wondered if this small restaurant was worth the hype, and after my visit I was simply wow-ed by the high quality of their cocktails, snacks and baos. You may not like the hour-long wait and the price tag, but you will not regret ever coming here!