There’s an Asian food fetish sweeping our fair city, and we simply can’t get enough of those pillowy steamed Chinese bao buns—or gua boa if you wanna be specific—and whatever goodness is stuffed inside.
From classic pork bao to east-west mash ups (some have gone so far as to turn them into a breakfast dish!), this is where Metropolist heads when we’re in need of a bao fix.
Introducing the Coast to bao back in the early days at Miami Marketta, and now a permanent fixture in Mermaid Waters, it’s all in the name for Lucky Bao. Mix and match these clouds of deliciousness with an epic selection of confit pork belly, tempura soft shell crab with Asian slaw, or Taiwanese fried chicken to name but a few. We’re going to bold and claim these are the best damn bao on the Gold Coast. Amen.
We put Mamasan on a pedestal for being one of the first to set the Coast’s new-age Asian fusion wave in motion. Cheers guys! If you try nothing else at this Broadbeach hotspot, it has to be Mama’s famous pork bao stuffed with twice-cooked pork belly, peanut, pickled cucumber, hoisin sauce, and Sriracha chilli mayo. Better yet, pair it with one of their delicious cocktails for a boozy bao experience.
Aloha Bar and Dining
While you’ve come for the pineapple cocktails and mandatory Insta selfies in the sailor room, you mustn’t leave without wrapping your lips around one of Aloha’s epic bao creations. Thursday nights are all about the bao, with these soft morsels flying out the pop-up bar’s teeny kitchen—12 bucks will buy you two bao and a beer. Bargain! Try the slow-cooked pork belly bao, with Sriracha aioli, spring onion, pickled cucumber, and chilli.
If you’ve not yet taken yourself along to Jimmy Wah’s, Burleigh’s modern Vietnamese gem then, simply put, you’re missing out. Start your journey with a serving of Jimmy’s braised beef short rib bao, and end with a crusty banh mi baguette or the melt-in-your-mouth Kingfish sashimi. Are you drooling all over your keyboard yet? We thought so.
Did we tell you how much we adore Rick Shores? Yeah, yeah, maybe we’re starting to sound like a broken record but that’s because this water’s edge dining destination is one of the best restaurants on the Gold Coast. If they don’t win you over with the jaw-dropping views (oh, they will), they’ll definitely steal your heart when you first bite into a lamb shoulder or sichuan snapper bao. Followed closely by the piece de resistance—the Rick’s bug roll, a buttery bun stuffed with tempura Moreton Bay bug and a spicy drizzle of Sriracha. All this will leave you weak at the knees, promise.
Backbone Bar And Kitchen
Southern craft beer lovers rejoiced when Backbone recently descended on Tugun. And who can blame them, now they have 12 rotating taps of craft beer—paired ingeniously with dumplings, bao, and other Asian bites—all within stumbling distance from home? Though you’ve come for the bao and you won’t be disappointed with the chicken teriyaki bao, pork bao with pickled daikon, braised beef bao with sautéed mushrooms or, for the vegos, a rare avocado bao. Mmmm, bao.
Double Barrel Kitchen
So crazy for bao that you could eat ‘em for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Double Barrel Kitchen shares the obsession having created Gold Coast’s first breakfast bao, layered with thick cut free-range bacon, baken beans, wombok, relish, and each topped with a tiny quail egg. Srsly, what will they think of next?
Addicted to Asian eats? We feel ya! Here’s where to find the best pho on the Gold Coast.