We have to admit it. We’ve got a bit of a bao problem. Bao, which are also known as lotus leaf buns, are pillowy steamed buns. We’ve criss crossed the globe in search of the soft fluffy morsels. We’ve had them stuffed with soft shell crab at King Bao in Orlando, Florida and chased down doughy delights crammed full of five spiced tofu at LONgTIME in Brisbane, Australia. After the long hop from San Francisco to Frankfurt followed by a lengthy skip to Saudi Arabia, we were craving something infinitely more delicious than plane food. We were thrilled when we stumbled upon Baozi during our first night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city.
Our journey at Baozi began with a minty passion fruit mojito. Saudi Arabia is a dry country which means that all alcohol is banned. We promise you that with decadent virgin drinks as good as Baozi’s mojito, you won’t miss even miss the booze. On a hot day, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything as refreshing as their passion fruit version. In fact, we quickly slurped down two of them.
The first bao we tried was the loca chicken bao and it was the winner of the night. Loca was chock full of perfectly crispy all white meat chicken that would rival anything you’d find in the southern states. The baos were topped with fried onions and even though it’s chipotle sauce made it a bit messy, it was totally worth the sticky fingers.
Next up was the brisket charcoal bao. It won from a photogenic standpoint because of its unique black bun, but we preferred the sauciness of the loca chicken if we had to pick a favorite bao.
Curious about some of the other tasty places we’ve discovered around the globe? Here are a few of our favorite foodie haunts finds we’ve found across the planet.
Baozi’s shrimp of thrones was another bao we tested out. It was unique, we’ve never had a maple infused bao before, plus the maple really helped balance the spiciness out. The crispy carrots added a nice crunch to the dish which we really appreciated.
The Mongolian bao was tasty as well. It was made with beef and came with a creamy herb sauce, but it just couldn’t top that first loca chicken bao.
There was one item on the menu that came awfully close to bumping Baozi’s local chicken bao out of first place and that was the hakuna matata dessert bao. It was like Baozi was saving the best for last. We’ve tested out dessert baos before, namely King Bao’s ridiculous Tarzan bao which comes equipped with Nutella, a fried bao, bananas and some powdered sugar, but the hakuna matata just might be one of the best ice cream baos we’ve ever had.
Baozi is a relative newcomer to the Riyadh foodie scene. Up until recently it was delivery only, but the standalone restaurant opened just about a year ago. With its decadent baos, fun atmosphere and reasonable prices we hope Baozi keeps its doors, and its kitchen, open for many more years to come.
Address: 8592 King Fahad Branch Road
Riyadh 12333, Saudi Arabia
*Near the intersection of Olaya King Fahad Street.
Hours: Saturday Through Wednesday 1:00pm to Midnight, Thursday and Friday 1:00pm to 1:00am
Phone: +966 53 923 9984
Pricing (All in Saudi Riyal): Starters 38 to 45 SAR, Salads 38 to 40 SAR, Baos 30 to 46 SAR, Mains 80 SAR, Desserts 20 to 30 SAR, Drinks 5 to 24 SAR
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