Bao and their sliced counterparts, gua bao (which translates to “cut bread”), are a Chinese and Taiwanese street-food staple. Lately, chefs worldwide are taking a particular interest in these pillowy steamed buns stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings. From humble beginnings, these fluffy mini buns have risen from street food staple to foodies’ favourites. Apart from all the high-end restaurants in Cairo now serving up yummy bao, Baogr opened up earlier this year with the same casual vibe that originally surrounded this delicious culinary invention.
In May this year, Baogr began offering Heliopolis residents a taste of the fluffy Chinese invention but with a delicious twist. Baogr, as you can tell from the name, serves beef and chicken burgers in bao instead of regular burger buns, as well as some appetisers and desserts. As we headed there to give the place a try, we could sense the laid-back and mellow atmosphere surrounding the area; the restaurant had this old skate park feel with graffiti, metal fixtures, and vibrant colours all around. We looked at the menu and decided to start with one Asian Slaw (25 LE), which worked better inside the bao as a condiment than an actual salad. Even though creamy, the Asian style shredded vegetables mixed with sesame mayo and teriyaki sauce weren’t very memorable in terms of taste. We then got the Shrimp Blast (27 LE) – tempura style shrimp, green onions, dill pickles, iceberg lettuce, and spicy, creamy sauce, which ended up being the highlight of the meal – it was crunchy, spicy, and simply delicious. We also got the Lucky Duck (37 LE) – slow-cooked duck legs in creamy raisin sauce, arugula, pomegranate and sesame seeds. This dish was also a winner; the duck was perfectly cooked, and the peppery taste of the arugula balanced out the sweetness of the raisin sauce.
After a delicious round of appetisers, we went on to get two mains. We ordered one AA Burger (82 LE) with a side of fries – smashed beef patty, American cheddar cheese, Asian slaw, dill pickles, avocado mash, and spicy, creamy sauce. We also had the Crispy Chicken Burger (56 LE) – Asian style breaded chicken, honey mustard sauce, BBQ sauce, and lettuce. Both burgers worked quite well in terms of flavour combinations; however, the chicken was a bit overcooked, causing the bite to have a stringy texture. The beef did not have this issue, but the American cheese didn’t melt properly on the patty, which would have potentially brought more moisture to the patty rather than an intense unmelted cheese flavour.
To end our meal, we decided to get the famous Baonana (20 LE) for dessert – fried classic bao, banana, chocolate spread, lotus, and peanuts. Frying this little fluffy bun worked so well with the banana and chocolate flavours. Since we got to share it, it turned out to be a perfect light finale to an otherwise satisfying and affordable meal.