Bao X Waffle
Bao X Waffle makes us wish we had a bigger mouth. Or maybe multiple mouths. Anything to get these things inside us faster and in larger quantities.
You might have seen these guys around. They’re not a store per-say. And they’re not a food-truck either. They’re a pop-up market regular that drives around Melbourne slinging bao buns and bao-waffle hybrids to hungry Melbournians every weekend. It’s amazing what you can achieve with a waffle iron and a dream...
If you’re thinking traditional bao, you must not have noticed the fried chicken monstrosity above. Bao X Waffle are combining cutting-edge Chinese bao technology with funky Southern-style flavours (and a hefty dollop of hip hop swagger).
What does that mean? It means pillowy bao stuffed with crispy AF Southern chicken fillets, deep fried gnarly little nuggets, topped with pickles, iceberg lettuce and a house-blend hot sauce known as ‘Bruce’. It means braised and panko-crumbed daikon (sourced from local farmers), dished up with pickled veg, watercress, Kewpie mayo and Tonkatsu sauce.
There’s three flavours on the menu at the moment, and you can get them wrapped in a traditional steamed bao, or a beautiful Belgian-style waffle pocket. Simply fold and eat. The messier the better. Three bao/waffles will set you back $18, which is a bloody good deal, considering the size and heft. Our pick is probably the fried chicken—the Bolo Bao. But the Rocky Bao Boa pork belly ain’t too far behind (nice little scattering of crushed peanuts on that one.
The dessert bao change pretty regularly. Maybe some handmade mantou (Chinese steamed buns) with condensed milk and black sesame. Or the Bao Pacino: a dessert bun stuffed with cookies and cream ice-cream.
Now the important question: where to find them? Keep an eye on Bao X Waffle’s social pages, because they move around all the time. They’ve been known to appear at the Hank Marvin Markets, Melbourne University’s weekend Farmer’s Market, and Alma Park in St Kilda East. The lucky devils.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White