How Bao Now brings that gourmet food stall feel to the Old Biscuit Mill with their signature offering of expertly crafted bao buns, an ode to the legendary Taiwanese-inspired street food that is loaded steamed buns.
Restaurant name: How Bao Now
Address: The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock
Opening times: Wednesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm; you can also find their bao buns at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Granger Bay as well as at the Neighbourhood Goods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill
Price of a bao bun: R75
Parking situation: On-street parking
Food type: Casual, hand-held Taiwanese-inspired steamed buns with various toppings; vegan options available
Best for: A quick and tasty refuel when out and about in Woodstock
The food stall offers a small menu, so they really focus on what they do best, which is some of the best bao buns in the business. Their signature bao buns are unpretentious, packed with flavour, umami-rich and scrumptious. Baos are served simply to highlight the casual nature of the popular Taiwanese-inspired street fare.
There is a lovely balance of flavours and textures within each bao bun, with a good amount of acid from the pickled carrots and a crisp freshness from the cucumber to cut through the rich hearty filling and the steamed dough. You can also expect strong flavours from fresh coriander, a sesame emulsion, togarashi and Asian-style dressings.
They have vegetarian and meaty offerings, with vegan steamed buns available on request. Each signature bao bun has a unique set of sauces and flavourings, which allows each bao bun to shine. Their pulled beef short rib and oyster mushroom bao come highly recommended.
The bao bun itself is technically flawless and delicious – it’s delicately soft, light and pillowy yet substantial with just the right amount of chew. The buns are steamed to perfection and don’t fall apart in the middle of the bao bun enjoyment.
They sell a few soft drinks, which are enjoyed as-is straight out of the can or bottle. With the How Bao Now being located close to the Neighbourhood Goods Market, you can easily enjoy a beverage of choice from the Neighbourhood Goods Market alongside a bao bun or two of your choice.
The service is friendly but very free-flowing with a self-service, order-at-the-counter feel. Hand sanitiser is available on arrival at the counter and Siba, who was lovely and attentive, wore a mask.
How Bao Now has limited seating inside and a few more tables outside. The space is cosy, quaint and small, situated inside a refurbished shipping container. Lush textures from the stained wood paneling add a homely softness to the industrial rustic finish. The overall atmosphere is one that is welcoming, with a warm casual feel.
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