'The Six Stack' by The Bao Bar

IMG_3843 A few months ago my friend Aaron Chew mentioned an idea to bring the humble Taiwanese Gua Bao to Perth in a modern and relatable way. Now his dream has become a reality, with the creation of his pop-up venture known as ‘The Bao Bar’. With other local eateries such as Low Key Chow House and crowd-funded Lucky Chan’s offering variations of gua bao, The Bao Bar is up against some pretty tough competition.

Along his journey I have somehow been roped into helping out, but working at The Bao Bar has been both fun and exciting. Every Friday night we get together to serve a bao degustation, known as ‘The Six Stack’. The event is located at a warehouse in O’Connor, where we pump some Nujabes and serve you six different baos, and unlimited Asian soft drinks, at a price of $40.

So here is ‘The Six Stack’ line up from the past two weeks:

Some lotus root chips seasoned in sweet and salty chinese five spice to start off.

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1. The O.G.

This is the original Taiwanese style braised pork belly gua bao, served with crushed peanuts and coriander.

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2. The Big Bird

Who doesn’t love a fried chicken bao? This gua bao is filled with chinese cabbage, a Taiwanese style popcorn chicken and drizzled in sriracha mayonnaise. Out of the six this one's my favourite!

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3. The Notorious P.I.G

Another pork belly bao, but this time with a crispy crackling, hoisin sauce, fresh cucumber, zingy pickled radish & carrot, and a garnish of coriander.

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4. The Sebastian

Delicious soft shell crab, covered in a homemade Singaporean style chilli sauce inside a naughty deep fried bao.

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5. The Porco Rosso

A char-siu pulled pork gua bao, with crushed peanuts, cucumber and a garnish of coriander.

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6. The Kimberly Hart

To finish off, there is a sweet dessert bao! A deep fried gua bao, filled with red bean paste and green tea ice cream, then covered in crushed strawberry pocky and peanuts.

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Unfortunately, through the power of social media this bao-gustation is now sold out for the next few weeks! But, if you want to know where The Bao Bar is popping up next, stalk us on social media:

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Perth Night Noodle Markets, Northbridge

IMG_2972In November last year, I had the chance to visit the amazing Night Noodle Markets in Melbourne (not a market that just sells noodles). This month, I was thrilled when I heard they were finally bringing it to Perth, along with stalls from the eastern states as part of the festival Eat Drink Perth.

After much hype, I rocked up on the opening night thirty minutes early. The plan was to get in and out before the massive crowds flooded the area, as well as take advantage of the natural lighting while the sun was still out.

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Masak Masak Masak Masak a business from Collingwood, Victoria was the first stall I tried at the Night Noodle Market. They were set up at the Urban Orchard area, and serve a variety of dishes like Beef Rendang with Coconut Sticky Rice ($15) and Crispy Prawn Wontons ($10).

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I ordered the Pork Belly with pickled vegetables and palm sugar caramel ($15). The pork crackling was crispy on the top, but a little bit chewy which didn’t affect its flavour when mixed with the vegetables.

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We also ordered a Snow Pear Slushy ($5), which was served in a plastic bag, similar to other traditional drinks served at hawker stalls across Asia. It's a sweet and icey drink, very refreshing on a hot night.

Masak Masak on Urbanspoon

Pasar Malam Due to the large variety of options at the Melbourne Night Noodle Market, I didn’t get to try Pasar Malam. This time, I was very excited to sample something from their menu, as it reminded me of familiar Singaporean flavours which I love so much.

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I settled on the Chilli Soft Shell Crab ($15), which was a small portion of crab served with two deep fried mantou buns. This tasted exactly like Singaporean chilli crab but was definitely easier to eat, the eggy sauce was not too spicy and the golden buns were perfect to wipe up the leftover sauce. I could eat this all day!

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I also ordered a serve of Sweet Potato Balls ($9), which was very expensive seeing as there were only 9 or 10 of these marble sized balls in the paper cone. Even though they were pricey, they were deliciously crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, a really nice snack.

Pasar Malam on Urbanspoon

Apple Daily Bar and Eating House

On the first floor of Print Hall at Brookfield Place you’ll find Apple Daily, a restaurant serving Asian street style food. Although I have not been to the restaurant, I’ve heard good things and decided to sample something from their market stall.

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The Linley Valley Pork Ribs, with tamarind, chilli and coriander ($12) were perfectly cooked, the meat fell of the bone and the flavours were paired well. But, I’ve also heard through social media, that some people had meat that was overcooked and tough or chewy. Luckily for me, this was not the case, possibly because we were early and the large rack of ribs is left on the heat all night to stay warm.

Masak Masak on Urbanspoon

Verdict

It is important to prepare yourselves, as you’ll be paying over inflated prices for little portions, and wait in long lines. Hoy Pinoy, a business from Melbourne had lines as long as an hour, which is why I gave them a pass this year. But, I’ve previously tried their chicken skewers from the Queen Victoria Markets and they are great.

Overall, The food I tasted that night was all on point, I loved the flavours and would definitely suggest the Pork Belly Salad from Masak Masak and the Chilli Soft Shell Crab from Pasar Malam. Compared to Melbourne, the Perth Night Noodle Markets had less variety but I’m sure over the upcoming years this will expand greatly as more businesses are more aware to participate.

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