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A visit to a newly opened restaurant

IMG_5860Earlier this week, I asked my friends Ray and Natalie to come with me to a new restaurant near my home.  It’s located in the ‘Chinatown’ of Canberra and inside is bright with nice decor; all clean and fresh with amazing artwork on the main wall.fullsizeoutput_79d

fullsizeoutput_79eThe restaurant is owned by Paul and Angel who both grew up in China and have been selling their bao at local markets in Canberra before they opened this restaurant.

Our waiter had a great sense of humour and he and Angel made our visit a really lovely experience.  We were told that the shop closes on Mondays and it’s this day they make hundreds of steamed buns for the week ahead.  I guess no rest days for owners of a new restaurant!

Of course the main food on the menu is bao. If you don’t know what a bao is…well they are those fluffy, folded-over steamed buns usually filled with pork belly, pickles and crushed nuts but this restaurant has all different types of filling.  There was one I really wanted to try; the Panko Tofu Bao; tofu crumbed with panko flour, white and black sesame seeds and then fried.  There are also rice and noodle dishes along with vegetable and meat dishes on the menu; so a good range of food.IMG_5858Our waiter kindly let me know that the steamed buns are not vegan which was a bit of a shame as I really felt like eating the panko tofu.  So instead I ordered lightly fried tofu which was so fresh and tasty and an eggplant dish. It wasn’t the style of eggplant I am used to (Sichuan style with oil) but more chargrilled I think.  Both dishes were beautifully presented.fullsizeoutput_7a1fullsizeoutput_7a3Ray and Nat ordered several of the bao to taste and both said they were very good.fullsizeoutput_7a2Their choices were the Pork Belly Bao where the pork belly is cooked traditional Taiwan style and served with crushed peanuts, pickled cabbage and coriander leaves.  Their second choice was the Shanghai Duck Bao; the duck stewed in soy sauce and Chinese spices with a slice or orange which we were told amplifies the rich and decadent taste and their third choice was the Crispy Fried Chicken Bao where a chicken thigh is marinated overnight then coated with a secret flour recipe and deep fried and comes with a drizzle of saffron mayonnaise.fullsizeoutput_7a7Also ordered were the beef skewers which Ray and Nat shared and sparkling water and a glass of wine each.fullsizeoutput_7a4IMG_5859When we called over our waiter to ask for the bill, he told us that we definitely had to try the Oreo Bao [not vegan unfortunately), but shared by my friends who said it was absolutely delicious.  Rather decadent I think!fullsizeoutput_7a5I am sure I will return as it’s a good place to pop in for a quick meal and glass of wine albeit a little expensive!