Wonderbao, CBD

Where: Literature Lane (Enter via Little Latrobe St)
When: Mon-Fri: Breakfast and lunch, Saturday: lunch
Contact: (03) 9654 7887
Take-away (very limited seating)
Vego :)
Gluten-free :(
Nut-free :(

The top end of the city is buzzing with new, exciting places to eat. The latest darling is Wonderbao, a take-away Chinese eatery that has a short menu consisting entirely of steamed doughy items (think buns and dough taco-shaped savouries or gua bao). For breakfast, lunch or snacks, these hot little parcels are served up lightening fast, with a smile as you wait. If you’re lucky enough you can grab one of the five stools overlooking one of Melbourne’s signature graffiti lanes, or failing that, a milk-crate in said lane.

The stand-out menu item is the Fried Silky Tofu Gua Bao ($3.80) with pickled mustard, coriander, sweet soy and crushed peanuts. The lightly fried tofu takes on a slightly sticky skin which adds lots of beautiful texture to the generous pillowy filling inside. I’m not normally a fan of silken tofu, but this steamy number won me over. The sauces weren’t too overpowering and the addition of fresh cucumber and coriander was gorgeous.

Left: Da Pork Bao ($3.20), Right: Fried Silky Tofu Gua Bao ($3.80)

It’s always hard to go past the sweet/savoury hybrid that is char-sui bao (BBQ pork bun) for $2 and Wonderbao does a particularly good one with lots of warm spiced flavours and no nasty gristle or sickly sweet gravy. Also good was the Da Pork Bao ($3.20) which had Chinese sausage, boiled egg and shitake mushrooms. The sausage was good quality and the mushrooms were large, juicy and radiated flavour throughout the whole bun.

Homemade Organic Soya Milk ($2.80)

To drink there are a few sweet tea tetra-packet drinks in the fridge or you can enjoy a hot or cold soy milk which they brew themselves. Be warned though, this is more of a soy drink and comes quite sweet. I tried the hot version but decided the sweetness would be less overbearing had it been cold. When I asked for hot tea the staff politely let me know that they didn’t have any but then had the initiative to offer me some water instead; a nice consideration.
For dessert you can choose from a taro or egg custard bun ($1.70), I ordered the latter and found it completely thick and delicious; a powerful eggy punch.

This steamy little place is a well-priced and high-quality convenience, matched with a great staff it’s sure to do well.

Egg Custard Bun ($1.70)

Food: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Ambiance: 2/5

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