Sunday, December 22, 2013

Restaurant: Wow Bao - Chicago

A few weeks back I went to Chicago for a work trip and as it goes with work trips - you don't always have time for special trips to restaurants. I was able to get to Purple Pig (amazing) but luckily for a quick bite - we had someplace I wanted to try attached to our hotel! 

Wow Bao is a fast food steamed bun restaurant. I had first had steamed buns this summer in Cleveland at Jonathan Sawyer's Noodlecat. These were AMAZING - so I wasn't sure if Wow Bao could match up - but we'll see.

They have these cool touch screens you can order from before you go in - especially helpful on busy lunch hours.

They had a iced bucket at the register full of this fresh squeezed hibiscus lemonade so I had to try some! Hussies love hibiscus & lemonade! This was AMAZING!!!! I went back and got another one to take back to my room and another one the next day. 

They have a fairly open kitchen and very helpful service. It's a small menu - but they know what they're good at and they focus on that. They have the steamed buns, potstickers and bowls - think of it as an Asian Chipotle.

We were prepping for a big dinner so just got 3 small buns ($1.79 each). These are yeast buns that originated in China. They are filled with a variety of meats and proteins and were mainly eaten for breakfast. I'd love to make them sometime but it's definitely a PROJECT (prep time of HOURS). 

When we ordered - we weren't quite sure how we would know what was what. But flip the bun over and you find out which is which! Very clever and handy!

I tried mongolian beef and kung pao. The buns were light and airy but didn't come close to the ones from Noodlecat. The meat all sort of tasted the same - but was fine. There is a sweetness to the buns that matches nicely if your filling is a little spicy.

Why Should You Go? I think it would be great if some of this unique fast casual flare would head to Cincinnati! If you come across one in Chicago though - it's not too bad. It's nothing compared to Noodlecat but it's quick, cheap and tasty. And most definitely get some of the Hibiscus Lemonade - zomg!

Wow Bao on Urbanspoon

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