After doing some research on where to find fabulous Sydney bao's, we decided on trying Belly Bao because it continually came up as being known for having the goods!
The proper name for a 'bao', as we all refer to them here in Australia, is actually a gua bao and is a Taiwanese snack. It was traditionally filled with various steamed meats, pickled and fresh vegetables or salad/herbs and served in between a fluffy steamed bun. In the simplest of terms, a bao is an Asian form of taco.
Being tucked away in GOODGOD Small Club, we thought Belly Bao would be hard to find and probably empty, being a Wednesday evening. We were wrong. On BOTH counts.
Finding GOODGOD Small Club was a piece of cake. The club was empty, because we made a super early arrival - it's a bad/not-so-bad habit of mine - but it didn't stay that way for long at all. Soon tables were filled, lines at both Belly Bao and the bar grew, people arriving late (6:30 on trivia night IS late) were sitting on stairs and hovering around those of us with tables hoping we'd leave.
Small, yet awesome drinks menu - GOODGOD Small Club
Being so early means one of us was arriving a little later. This was terrible. 'Terrible' because my fabulous sister and I were forced to try the cocktails from the cute bar inside GOODGOD Small Club. These ice-filled Club Cups were made with real juice and quality alcohol. For $12 they were an absolute bargain and tasted a little too good - (read: A.Mazing)!
Club Cups $12: We tried a Jimmy Mack (left) and one of the specials
Belly Bao's menu is small and there is no need for it to be any bigger. Everything looked great and being small, this made life easy. We decided to order pretty much everything on it!
Big things come in small packages - Belly Bao menu
Ordering food is simple. Line up, place your order, pay, take a number and food arrives. On the night we were there we were told to expect a wait, and it was a wait of bout 30 minutes. This was not an issue simply because the staff at Belly Bao were friendly, told everyone their estimated timing and were on time. No hidden surprises... and most importantly, when the food arrived it was damn good.
The first thing we sunk our fangs into was the juicy yet crispy fried chicken. Some of the best we've ever had.
THE best crispy fried chicken around
ALL of the bao's were absolutely delicious. We tried them all. Fluffy steamed buns held tender meat, crispy crackle, fresh coriander, amazing sauces, crunchy tofu and TONS of flavour.
The bao collection
I walked away dreaming of bao, having enjoyed everything so much. I need to find a good recipe to trial soon. If I could create bao's half as good as these, I would be in heaven. So would everyone I know. I'm definitely going to have to be on a mission to sort that out soon.
If you haven't already tried these tasty little parcels of deliciousness, then you really need to. SOON. They're so good. Make time to try Belly Bao - and be EARLY.