Monday, 4 November 2013

Bao Town Pop-Up, Vella Nero - Sydney CBD

They are cute, fluffy, and delicious.

One just can't not love them.

Especially when they are made and served by one of my favourite food bloggers, Theresa from The Gook. I would be devastated to miss the chance to pop some baos.

Bao Town is a pop-up event, a collaboration between Theresa and Vella Nero. The location is only a few minutes walk from Town Hall station and QVB, which makes it very convenient. The insipiration apparently comes from Theresa's grandmother and family recipes, which are tweaked here and there to make them even more unique.

Bao Town logo

Vella Nero is such a perfect venue for this pop-up event, I reckon. The quite spacious, fun and bright interior has a very welcoming vibe, enhanced by the super friendly service.

Vella Nero interior

You can choose your seat between the short, long tables or the high stools. The decoration is very appealing to my eyes, with warm touches of wooden furniture.


I am almost coffee illiterate, but when a place has awards lining up like that, you know they take their coffee seriously.

Vella Nero's awards

And I also love the thoughtful placement of serviettes and Sriracha on the tables. Chilli sauce always makes it more thrilling to me.


Vietnamese iced coffee made with Vella Nero's blend started the day beautifully. I am not a huge fan of coffee, but I enjoyed every sip of this one. One downside though, it is too small! I think I may need three glasses of this at least.

Vietnamese iced coffee - $3.5

There were only three baos on the menu that day, and I am looking forward for the next pop-ups to try the rest of the options. From what I have read, apart from the three listed here, yellow chicken curry, beef bo kho, and lemon polenta baos are on the list.


In case you haven't noticed, bao is a fluffy steamed bun, filled with various types of fillings. I'm quoting Bao Town here, 'they taste great, low in sugar, and easy to eat'. Couldn't agree more.

Three little baos - $3.5 ea, $10 for 3

Like Tina has said, the baos are presented with different curves and crooks on each one, a trait that guarantees that they are absolutely home-made. I ordered one each from the three types on the menu that day, and they came on a paper plate, with stamped corners to indicate which one is which.

The coconutty pork belly is the first one I touched.

Coconutty pork belly - pork belly slow cooked for four hours in young coconut juice, soy and fish sauce and star anise

First of all, let me just say that the bun/dough is absolutely perfect. It is warm, fluffy, soft but still bouncy, not sweet but not too plain either. It is almost like it's making way for the filling's flavour to shine, while quietly taking a big part in making every bite memorable.

Coconutty pork belly is absolutely delightful with perfect filling to dough ratio. The pork belly is tender, deliciously fatty, and quite aromatic. A squirt of Sriracha is strongly recommended.

Coconutty pork belly innards

Miso eggplant is a vegetarian option, and I was very surprised that I actually loved this one more than the pork belly bao.

Miso eggplant - sweet eggplant slow roasted with shiro miso, sake, mirin, and coriander salsa

It is juicy, very tasty, and the coriander salsa on top gives a fresh and exciting flavour that goes very well with the filling.

Miso eggplant innards

And here comes the star that rocked my day the most. I had been told that the molten chocolate bao is most people's favourite, and it didn't take much to convince me on that statement. The initial appearance may seem innocent, but wait until you bite into it.

Molten chocolate by Marou

A river of oozing dark, rich chocolate will attack you and you will be weak on your knees. Or you may even cry in delight, you never know.

The words 'awesome' and 'amazing' can hardly describe the excellence of this sexy baby.

Molten chocolate innards

An amazing experience with those baos, indeed. Amazebaos, that is a perfect term to describe it in a nutshell.

Share the fun!

Looking forward to the next pop-ups!

[EDIT 4/11/13] 

Of course I went back for the second pop-up! Why wouldn't I? With lemon polenta and beef bo kho baos on the line-up, I would be devastated not to be able to bite into them.

The two new baos are replacing coconutty pork belly, but kudos to Theresa for not taking the molten chocolate off just yet! Additionally, there were two choices of salad, for those who want to make the meal a bit more substantial.

Bao Town second pop-up menu

Let me just say, go for the salad. We decided not to get the salad, but thankfully, Theresa saved us from a long-life regret by sending this complimentary crunchy Asian slaw. Apart from being a huge fan of young bamboo shoots, the freshness and crunchiness of this salad are incredible for me. Especially with that tasty red dressing that the ingredients are tossed into.

Crunchy Asian slaw (young bamboo shoots, with purple cabbage, cucumber and mint)

With four baos on offer, there was only one ordering option: one of each.

I ordered the miso eggplant and the molten chocolate again, simply because they were amazing on my first encounter. Guess what, I think they are even better this time. Somehow the buns are fluffier, softer, and are they getting bigger too?

Nonetheless, still awesome.

One of each!

The beef bo kho is a great way to eat the traditional Vietnamese dish without involving any cutlery. Upon breaking the bao in two, a delicious scent wraps me up.

Beef bo kho (traditional beef stew - slow cooked in soy sauce, tomato, lemongrass and cinnamon)

The beef is definitely tender, and it has all of the flavours that are needed. Again, a squirt of Sriracha makes it even better. I have never tried beef bo kho before, but I am more than willing to try now.

Beef bo kho - innards

Lemon polenta bao is probably one of the most unique kinds of steamed bun I have ever tasted. The description on the menu says everything.

Lemon polenta bao (fluffy, moist and zesty - lemon-lovers dream come true)

By now I shouldn't be raving about how good the bun itself is anymore, right?

The grainy and zesty filling has a perfect level of sweetness, and it doesn't bite your tongue harshly with its zing either. Genius.

Lemon polenta bao innards

OK, last words: going to the last pop-up in December is strongly recommended. How I wish to have some of these buns for exam revision sessions right now..

Currency: $1 = IDR 10,900



259 Clarence St.
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: 0411 771 361

Web: Bao Town
Twitter: Bao Town (@bao_town)
Facebook: Bao Town

Info: the next pop-ups will be on 7th of December, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. or until sold out.

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  1. Aww they look so cute. And I can imagine the chocolate ooozing outta that bun !

    1. Very cute, and delicious as hell! :D
      Have you tried them?

  2. ahh shame i was out of the country to miss this! that molten chocolate bao looks absolutely amazeballs

    1. There are two pop-ups to come, Shanshan, worry not! :D

  3. that molten one is just out of this world! it's so amazing and well done to T for doing an #amazebao job :D

    1. Couldn't agree more.
      They are #amazebaos indeed!

  4. Pork belly AND eggplant? I don't think I can resist their siren call any longer...

    1. Should definitely go. 100% positive.
      Thanks for dropping by, Isaac (I hope it's the right name..)! :D

  5. i missed out on both counts! grrr the baos look amazing!

    1. There's the last one in December! Hopefully you can make that one because the baos are amazing! :)

  6. I'm hoping to try this amazebaos on the next pop-up! Awesome photos as usual Irene :)

    1. Go for it! I think you'll like it :)
      Thanks heaps as always, Raff!


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