The Hong Kong smash-hit bao burger joint brings modern Cantonese fare to the hip Thong Lor
In our skeptical minds, we were doubtful of the buzz surrounding the newest introduction to 72 Courtyard in hip Thonglor. The creation of May Chow, the former chef of popular Hong Kong eateries, Bo Innovation and Yardbird, who later ventured out on her own to open a stall selling Chinese bun burgers, Little Bao, brilliantly combines traditional Cantonese favorites with modern twists. Hoping to be proven wrong, we decided to set our doubts aside and let the dishes do the talking.
The kitchen is under the ministrations of head chef Justin Wong, who has had extensive experience in the original Hong Kong branch. Most diners automatically opt for their Instagram-friendly bao burgers, but the hot and cold communal dishes showcasing Chow’s bold mélange of classic Cantonese street food with western elements should also be given equal prominence. We first tried the smoked eggplant salad topped with hot and spicy chili garlic miso, yogurt, pine nuts, and shiso (B240). The well-seasoned eggplant has a deep smoky flavor, while the creamy yogurt balances out the spicy miso. Not to be missed is the delicious lamb tartare mixed with fuyu mayo (fermented tofu), fried shallots and yuba chips (B360). The highlight of the sharing menu are pulled short-rib, pan-fried dumpling (B320). The six-hour- braised ribs are juicy and tender, and are a perfect combination to the accompanying crunchy daikon coleslaw.
Then there come the signature baos. These chewy white steamed buns, traditionally from Guangdong, have been recreated into burgers featuring four different fillings. We tried the pork belly (B260) and Sichuan chicken (B260). The nine-hour slow-cooked pork belly is well-seasoned and tender, while the tongue-numbing spicy chicken is well-marinated. There are even ice cream baos made with rich and creamy Guss Damn Good ice-cream. Choose between two flavors: green tea with condensed milk or salted caramel.
The extensive drinks list also incorporates Asian flavors. Opt for the strong and refreshing Snake Master (snake wine, Aylesbury, and vodka, B360) and the easy-to-drink Punch Sai Gua (Ford’s gin, watermelon, cucumber, cinnamon, and lemon, B340).
Little Bao Bangkok exhibits a fun, welcoming and energetic vibe as portrayed in the graffiti-like logo on its storefront. The image, designed by Hong Kong-based street artist, Cath Love, is that of a smiling child that curiously looks like May Chow herself. The dining room is small and casual. Each wooden table displays a bottle of Yu Kwen Yick all-purpose chili dipping sauce – with the label facing the restaurant’s entrance for good feng shui. Try to come early as the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. Little Bao plans to open for lunch soon.
|Venue name:||Little Bao [CLOSED]|
Soi Suthumvit 55
Klongton Nua, Wattana
|Opening hours:||Sun-Thu 18:00-0:00; Fri-Sat 18:00-02:00|