I have a delicious obsession with gua baos, those Taiwanese street food of fluffy soft buns enveloping all manners of delicious meats with various pickles and condiments. In my last visit to Sydney, I chanced upon a new outlet.
Mr Bao opened their permanent outlet on York Street’s George Arcade on 7 August, building on their popularity at the Bondi Farmers Market and various festival markets. Their outlet at the end of the arcade is cheerful and fresh, offering 5 versions of their Vietnamese/Japanese take on gua baos, for $6 each or two for $11. Great value.
My initial pick of the braised pork belly was sold out so I was recommended their signature crackling pork belly. This has to be the absolute best version of crackling pork gua bao I have tried (sorry Wonderbao). The generous piece of pork is succulent, complemented by the pickled cucumber and coriander, and given a good dousing of their signature hoisin sauce. The best part is the incredibly moreish crackling which is placed on top of the pork.
I also had the crispy tofu gua bao, which comes with agedashi sauce, pickled daikon, shallots, roasted peanuts and coriander. The tofu was crispy on the outside, soft with a slight bite on the inside. The pile of pickled daikon was crispy, slightly tangy and utterly delicious.
My only quibble is that they use un-waxed paper to steam the baos, which means the base of the baos are stuck fast to the paper, and having to waste the base of the fluffy soft buns was a travesty.
There are also traditional chicken or char siu baos on the menu, as well as dessert baos with a choice of yuzu custard or dulce de leche. If baos are not your thing (perish the thought), there is Asian-flavours inspired salad available.
Mr Bao is opened for lunch Monday – Saturday, and opened late for grazers on Thursdays and Fridays. I can’t think of many things better than a flavour punch gua bao for an evening snack.
3/56–58 York Street, Sydney
Mon to Wed 11am–3pm
Thu to Fri 11am–9pm
Sat 11am–3pm, Closed Sun
Bondi Farmers Markets, Sat 9am–1pm
Brewey Yard Markets, Sun 10am–4pm