Belly Bao

The gua bao trend continues with Belly Bao taking up new permanent quarters at Good God Small Club. Now I was already deadset excited at the prospect of squishy buns for dinner. But as I never got to visit The Dip before it closed, getting to check out the dizzy wonderland that is Good God was a kickass awesome bonus.

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Photo by Robert Newey

Although I’ve all but gone absolute cold turkey with alcohol, I was in the mood that night for something that wasn’t water. Robert readily gets us a Panzo Punch ($28) which is vodka, watermelon, mint and some kind of lemon or lime juice. It’s as refreshing as it sounds, slightly sweet, slightly sour and only a tinge of that vodka aftertaste so you know this is a drink for adults.

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Photo by Robert Newey

Regardless, I’m an eater not a drinker and it’s time for the main event. We I decided that we should get all six for the full Belly Bao experience, even though I don’t eat pig meat which is the key ingredient to two of their pork belly dishes. I’m well aware that it wouldn’t be gua bao without it!

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Photo by Robert Newey

Crackling roast pork belly ($6.50), Slow braised pork belly ($6.50) & Slow braised beef short rib ($6.50)

Across the board, the gua bao buns are flawless. They are the fluffiest and most hugable things on the planet, I almost wish there was a life-sized one I could cuddle to bed with. Boys love their pork buns but I think Robert’s winner between the two is the crackling roast pork belly as he says the gelatinous layer of fat in the braised one gets a bit much even for him. The beef short rib is one of their newest and one of my top two favourite buns. The beef component is crazy flavourful and I love the generous serving of kimchi to balance out the richness. This was so good that we lined up again to get another serving of it.

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Photo by Robert Newey

Crispy tofu ($6.5), Panko crumbed chicken breast ($6.50) & Soft-shell crab ($7.50)

Round two now and it’s a fresh battalion of baos. Speaking of which, hey Belly Bao how about an all-you-can-eat bao competition? I already die at my 3rd/4th bao but I would watch that event so hard. I previously wrote on Instagram that I found the tofu at Belly to be lacking in flavour. I stand corrected after this meal. It’s still no Wonderbao but I commend Belly for making it different. A lighter seasoning and a crispier layer of tofu skin is what makes this stand out. And heck any food outlet that can make me eat cucumber deserves an award. The soft-shell crab ties in first place for me together with the short rib from earlier. I *love* soft-shell crab and although this wasn’t the super spindly variety, I appreciated the chunks of tasty crab meat. It made the bao-eating feel a lot more substantial than to just be eating deep fried splinters (which also has a place in my heart, just not today). The panko chicken breast is fried to perfection as the outer layer is also incredibly crispy. Fiona recommends the chilli aioli to me (over the other option of a pesto aioli) which I think is a great addition to prevent the chicken breast from being too dry.

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Photo by Robert Newey

My stomach space is a little roomier than usual tonight so we opt for some BBC – that’s Belly Bao Chicken you pervs – in a half portion with spicy sauce ($15). We got this with the second short rib and by this point the queues got a little bit crazy and Fiona even has to announce a couple of times that food will take 30 minutes. Undaunted we waited patiently for this. This is probably my first fried chicken since 2012, so like with all my dude food ventures here’s my disclaimer that I don’t know a whole lot about fried chicken. But whatever that was put in my mouth tasted really good. Super crispy, tasty, I even had the breast piece and it wasn’t dry at all. Sadly, for whatever reason I started getting full just before it arrived so it was one lone piece of chicken for me. Belly Bao doesn’t usually do takeaways but they make do for us with a cardboard serving box and paper bag. No wastage, and the remaining piece of chicken are now Robert’s supper.

The takeaway message of this post would be that Belly Bao is certainly no belly flop. The food is pretty tasty at a price that isn’t going to leave you with a mortgage, and at one of Sydney’s coolest venues to boot. I had super great service from Fiona and Melvin and whoever else that was wiping down the tables got rid of finished food plates and scraps really quickly. Kudos to you guys on sorting out your teething issues so quickly! I’ll be back with a bigger and better army to fight, eating one little gua bao at a time.

Belly Bao on Urbanspoon

samanthawxlow

17 Comments

  1. that fried chicken looks awesome but im dying to try the crackling roast pork belly!

    • They also have a crunchy wings thing which is drumettes and chicken wings but a little bird told me that you cough don’t like chicken wings cough

    • This place isn’t terribly kid friendly since it’s part bar, part disco. But as mentioned you can get takeaway. And if you’re interested in the world of gua bao I hear the Chinatown markets have a stall that sells similar!

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