Featured image: Beef brisket bao and the classic maple BBQ pork bao @ Gongfu Bao
Having had some Gongfu Bao back in their food cart days at Confederation Park, I was pretty excited to hear that their shop on Bank Street has open. The shop itself is not super big but the decor is very interesting with booth-style seats, which make me feel like I am being transported to somewhere in Asia. There is a very laid back vibe to the whole place with very young and friendly staff.
Although it is a soft opening, their menu definitely more extensive than what they had at their food cart. I appreciate their use of local ingredients. They also try to have a few vegetarian options. We decided to have the beef brisket bao (bun) and the classic maple BBQ pork bao. The beef brisket bao was flavourful, tender and juicy. It worked really well with the pickled lobok or turnip. I would also like to mention that the skin of the bun was super fluffy and soft – just like a cloud. I was surprised that the BBQ pork bao was pretty much like the traditional charsiu bao you can get at dim sum. It was an encased bao with chopped up BBQ pork filling inside. I was expecting the open-concept taco-style bao with a full intact piece of pork belly instead. This time the pickled turnips was on the side and was quite nice to cut the sauce of the BBQ pork.
We also had to try the turducken siu mai (dumpling) – which was definitely not something you would find at a traditional Chinese restaurant. These generously dumplings are packed with delicious protein and flavours. The added pop of crispy chicken skin was a nice surprise.
Don’t forget to keep checking back as their menu evolves. I am interested in trying the Grilled Cheese bao next time. I also see that they have Hong Kong milk tea on their sample menu. Someone please let me know when this becomes available!
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