Delectable bao, noodles and rice bowls

Eu Hooi-Khaw

The Bao Guys has a new HQ in Lalaport Bukit Bintang City Centre, KL. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 17, 2022.

TWO years on and The Bao Guys have now opened its fourth outlet in Lalaport Bukit Bintang City Centre, Kuala Lumpur. Billed as its headquarters, the eatery is located within BookXcess.

We wound our way to the back of this humongous bookstore, and there it was, decked in bright, cheery yellow, in a spacious dining area.

The Bao Guys offers a new menu here, different from that of its first outlet in SS2 Petaling Jaya, where I first enjoyed its baos or mantou filled with chicken, lamb, beef and vegan “meat”.

There’s always an element of fun in the naming of each bao, whether it’s “Fiinding Nemo”, which is a grilled peri-peri fish bao, “Butter Be Good” (Northern Indian butter chicken) or “Duck You” (grilled smoked duck). We had all three, including the satay bao.

Finding Nemo (left) and the Satay Bao. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 17, 2022.

The satay bao had a spice-marinated boneless chicken thigh that is deep-fried, then slathered with a thick, nutty and lightly sweet sauce, and tucked into a black mantou.

This was delicious, staying true to the flavours of satay in its sauce, pairing well with crispy bites of fried chicken (RM7.90).

“Finding Nemo” had a spicy and tangy turn to it, with the grilled peri-peri fish topped with charred jalapeno mayo and salsa (RM8.90).

There was the “oomph” of a yummy Northern Indian butter chicken in “Butter Be Good”, within a fluffy white mantou (RM7.90). “Duck You” was a grilled smoked duck bao with grilled pineapple salsa and house-made hot sauce (RM8.90).

From left: Duck You, Finding Nemo and Butter Be Good. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 17, 2022.

Noodles and rice bowls are also on the menu. The TBG signature minced chicken noodles was like a good chilli pan mee.

Apart from the minced chicken, it had a soft-boiled egg, vegetables, pickled cucumber and a generous topping of chilli sambal.

Tossed together, the noodles were creamy with the runny egg, hot with chilli and altogether well-seasoned. It makes for a good lunch offering (RM13) if you’re not into baos.

Yummy braised beef scallion oil rice. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 17, 2022.

I had a takeout order of the braised beef scallion oil rice for dinner (RM15) and it was scrumptious. I loved the tasty, spicy pulled beef on the rice, the zesty sambal, soft-boiled egg, onion and cucumber pickles.

It made a balanced meal, the richness of the beef pared down by the pickles.

The side dish of pickled bok choy wrapped around vegan popcorn chicken stood out at The Bao Guys.

Vegan popcorn chicken wrapped in pickled bok choy. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 17, 2022.

The pickled and crunchy bok choy contrasted against the flavourful soy-based, crispy popcorn chicken.

A drizzle of chilli oil brought it all together. Past the taste of the sour pickle, I enjoyed the taste of the slightly sweet popcorn “chicken” with it.

This is a vegan option that can go together with the smoky shrooms bao on the menu.

We also had a taste of the real popcorn chicken – done Taiwanese style – in “TBG’s Chicks” (RM11.90).

Enjoy Taiwanese-style popcorn chicken with TBG’s Chicks. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 17, 2022.

It’s chicken you can’t stop eating once you start. It is well-fried, crispy and crunchy, and truly addictive.

For the baos, an a la carte platter of three is RM20. There’s a lunch set of three baos, a side dish and a drink for RM25.

TBG Signature Minced Chicken Noodles – a lot like chilli pan mee. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 17, 2022.

The Bao Guys are Lucas Isaac, Dominic Chou and Marc Wong, three law graduates who started a food business in their condo kitchen during the pandemic and powered their modern Asian fast food concept to success.

The Bao Guys is at BookXcess, Level 1, Lalaport BBCC, 2 Jalan Hang Tuah, Kuala Lumpur. Call 018-379 2722 for enquiries. It’s also at RexKL, Tiffin @ The Yard, Lucky Lucky Foodstore in Bandar Tun Razak, KL and No.12M, Jalan SS2/61, PJ. – December 17, 2022.

* Eu Hooi-Khaw has been writing about food for the longest time, covering all aspects, from restaurant reviews to cooking and recipes, as well as the healthy side of it. She has written for major newspapers and magazines, published the cookbook Fresh Ingredients, and also writes for her website

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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