So about a month ago I was on Gumtree selling some of my camera stuff (check it out here) and I happened to click on the jobs section where I saw an ad looking for staff for the Wonderbao stall that was coming to the Night Noodle Markets in Sydney. My brain freaked out cos I mean, WONDERBAO!!! Yep Melbourne’s famous tiny hole in the wall bao joint was coming to Sydney and I could finally get my bao fix. I applied immediately and caught up with Chamil, the ops manager in Melbourne and then met husband and wife team Andrew and Tina who are super down to earth and made me feel welcome and a part of the team they’d brought up from Melbourne.
Stack o’ steamers filled with baos! So for 2 weeks I lived and breathed all things Wonderbao and it was such an adrenalin rush! It’s been a while since I’ve worked the line at a certain pancake restaurant and while I hated the uh oh drowning feeling when you see the dockets lined up in a never ending queue, I relished the feeling of relief when you push yourself to work harder and faster until you catch up. I dunno, there’s just something about working in a kitchen and finding the flow and working as a team that’s always felt right with me. Am I rambling? Moving along then.
On offer at the markets were 3 types of Baos: Chicken (chicken & shiitake), Choi (shiitake mushroom, tofu & veggies) and Nai Wong Bao (egg custard).
And of course their famed Gua Baos! Before you ask, yes they are steamed in the bamboo steamers but they’re then transferred to this bain marie which is where I took the sneaky snap because didn’t really have time to go poking around in the steamers.
These Taiwanese-inspired Gua Baos were fiddly to make for this noobie but boy was it satisfying to fill them and see a customers face light up upon receiving them. If it sounds like I’m gushing I’m sorry I just had a really great time!
3 types of Gua Baos: Braised Pork Belly (w pickled mustard vegetables aka Kiam Chye, coriander and crushed peanuts), Twice Cooked Pork Belly (with pickled carrots & daikon, cucumber and hoisin sauce) and Fried Silky Tofu (with pickled mustard vegetables, coriander, crushed peanuts and sweet soy sauce).
The twice cooked pork belly (roasted then grilled) was pretty damn tasty and the tofu was also a winner for me, surprising as I’m not too big on tofu but each square of silken tofu was battered and fried to order so that each gua bao would have the perfect crunch to smooth innards ratio.
But my heart belonged to the super tender and fatty braised pork belly and I ended up eating at least 3 per shift and I may or may not have gained a kilo or two!
Powered by ALL the energy drinks! And maybe one or two gin & tonics (haha thanks Chamil!). So yeah! I will miss the lovely people at Wonderbao and my beloved braised pork gua bao and so have already started planning my next trip to Melbourne 😛 Thanks heaps Andrew and Tina, it was a blast and I had the best time! Please open a Wonderbao in Syd! Also, thanks heaps to everyone that visited, it was lovely to see you all!