Bao buns that pack a punch on taste

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The tuna tartare… with tiny, oh-so-neatly-cut avocado cubes and lemon soy dressing. Photo: Wendy Johnson

“The service was attentive and super friendly. This is a delightful establishment in every sense,” writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

FOR a long time, Super Bao could only be spotted at some of Canberra’s finest markets and festivals. In April, owners Paul Xu and Angel Zhang took the plunge and opened a restaurant in Dickson. 

Wendy Johnson.

Our group of five gave several types of bao a run. The soft fluffy bao buns are made on site daily, starting around 6am, and the fillings all packed a punch on taste. 

There are six types and a couple of “baogers” (bao burgers) on the menu, as well as small dishes and big dishes. Sharing is the go…

The slow-braised pork belly bao came with pickles, coriander and crushed peanuts, the crackling pork with mixed cabbage, cucumber and Hoisin sauce and the Shanghai Duck with sliced carrots, spring onion, cucumber and orange. They’re fabulous value – all $7.50 (the prawn is $8). We could have grazed on bao all day, but were too anxious to try some of the small dishes. 

The tuna tartare with tiny, oh-so-neatly-cut avo cubes, was fabulous and the lemon soy dressing perfectly balanced ($13). We drooled over the wonderful wontons stuffed with pork and basa fillet and coriander, served with spicy vinegar ($7 for five pieces). 

Equally delish was the rare eye filet, which we dipped in ponzu sauce ($14). The soft-shell crab, cooked in a light and crispy lemon pepper batter, married well with wasabi cream ($12).

Don’t go past the Yuxiang eggplant dish ($14). We opted to have pork mince piled on top of our roasted eggplant.

Our least-fave was the popcorn chicken, even though it’s one of Super Bao’s most popular dishes. We couldn’t pinpoint why ($12), perhaps our tastebuds had been too spoiled by then. 

The wine list is compact and reasonably priced, including our 2018 Cofield Rose from Rutherglen ($36 a bottle). Super Bao makes cocktails in carafes and its “Super Cocktails” are $15-$17. Beers include Orion Lager from Okinawa and Kirin Ichiban from Tokyo.

The massive artwork on the wall as you enter is by Paul. It explodes with colour. Look closely to spot Super Bao references and runners such as the ones famous basketball player Michael Jordan wears (Paul is a big fan and has a statue of Jordan in the restaurant. He was wearing bright orange and black Jordan-inspired runners on our visit). 

Aside from the artwork, the decor is comfortably minimalist. Walls and ceiling are white, tables a light wood and the light fixtures dark brown or tan.

The service was attentive and “super” friendly (there’s that word again). This is a delightful establishment in every sense.

We scanned dishes on our phones with the QR code for professional shots of each dish. It’s a great way to decide how much food to order.

Super Bao, Unit 240/6 Cape Street, Dickson. Open Tuesday to Sunday.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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