Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mean Bao

-Grubbing in Chicago
Fried Bao Buns on Taylor Street

Is the Taylor street area Chicago's next hot spot for Chinese restaurant openings? It's certainly gaining momentum with the most recent place to open. Mean Bao appeared on the 1100 block a couple months ago. An online search revealed it may be the first US location of a Toronto based chain. That said the franchise from Toronto makes no mention of this location and the menu is different. So my guess is no. It's just coincidence they share the same name and a similar setup.

Recently Opened on Taylor Street

Aside from the bao they advertise in their name they also have noodles and dim sum. Early reviews on those two have been mixed but the bao seem to be selling. Different from most in that they're stuffed (not folded) and then pan fried giving off a bit of a potsticker vibe in bao form. After trying these I determined I much prefer when they're pan fried as the soft bao becomes slightly crisp and the flavors shift to a more of a baked bread taste. They’re pretty cheap at 3 for $4 which is more than enough for one person. They'll even let you order just one which makes for a great snack. Though not exactly a quick one. I've tried a few options including the curry chicken, Mongolian beef, and an egg yolk custard which is more sweet than savory. Nothing life changing but I enjoyed them for what they were. A nice snack for those rare times I don’t feel like a beef from Al’s down the block. I liked the Mongolian beef made with cubes of sauced up roast beef and the egg custard which was dripping with delicious warm yolk. We may see more of these pop up around town. It has a franchise feel.

Fried Bao at Mean Bao

Mean Bao
1139 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 929-3336

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