You have to believe that baos are trendy in Strasbourg! After Turbo Bao, which we tested in January just after its opening, Bon Bao is taking up residence in Petite France. Open since mid-April on Rue des Dentelles, Bon Bao has taken the place of the Alsatian winstub Tante Liesel and has around thirty covers. Inside, we still find the atmosphere of the old establishment, thanks to the preserved wooden beams. In terms of decoration, the team bet on pale pink, mismatched recycled tables and chairs, with a big effort on plants – special mention for the wall of (fake) greenery which brings a real zen and fresh side.
A year to make the dough
As far as the menu is concerned, the choice is wide: here, the specialty is the homemade baos – these little steamed and stuffed buns, very common in Asian street-food. The baos buns, too, prepared with the same dough as the baos, opened this time, and garnished with meat and/or vegetables. “It took a year to find our famous and current gourmet bao dough,” the menu says. The idea is to make your own composition, by checking off the menu: you have the choice with a menu at €12.50 (only offered at lunchtime on weekdays), consisting of a bao, a salad, a soft or a sweet bao and a sauce. For the biggest appetites, it is possible to choose the menu at 18€, with two baos or two bun baos. Finally, the €22 menu offers the whole thing (yeah, why choose?): two baos, a salad, a sauce, a dessert and a soft drink.
So I opt for the €18 menu, with a Chinese cabbage salad, carrot and peanut sauce, a caramelized pork bao with galbi barbecue sauce and another with shredded duck, celery, spring onion, carrot, ginger and lime. Impossible not to taste the baos buns (just to compare): served in pairs, I chose the recipe of the moment, with oyster mushrooms and garlic and pepper sauce. “Everything is homemade,” promises the waitress — otherwise very pleasant and attentive. The promise is enticing.
An explosion of flavors
Dressed in a vintage and Alsatian service, the baos buns, super colorful, are magnificent and make you really want. And they are as beautiful as they are good: I loved the mushroom garnish. The baos arrive in a bamboo basket to keep them warm. And on the palate, it’s an explosion of flavors: special mention for the caramelized pork bao, a real favourite. The shredded duck brioche, also very good, is a bit dry in comparison. As for the Chinese cabbage and peanut salad, I will only have one word: a killer (you really have to love peanuts, however, because the taste is really very pronounced). Homemade feels on the plate, the buns are made with love, there’s no doubt.
The perfect gourmet touch
What about the dessert, which we enjoyed taking on the comfortable sofa to the right of the entrance: in the menu, baos with spread are served in pairs. For twice the pleasure (who would doubt it? Brioche + flowing chocolate = life). One thing is certain: after this full menu (coupled again with two savory baos buns), it’s PLS assured. But we clearly enjoyed ourselves. In terms of price, off the menu and individually, starters are offered between €6 and €7 (we find homemade stuffed ravioli or even pork skewers), garnished and super tasty salads between €5 and €6, baos (pork, duck, vegetables and mushrooms) between €5 and €6, bun baos (with duck, pork and the recipe of the moment, always served in pairs) between €13 and €14.50, sauces (peanut; good bao Thai ketchup and ginger mayo) between €2 and €2.50 and desserts (double bao spread, chocolate bao, sponge cake, etc.) between €3.50 and €7.
In the end, our bill came to €45 (a menu at €18, another at €12.50 and buns baos served in pairs for €14.50). Note that the menu alone is sufficient (the one at €18 if you are good eaters) so the value for money is clearly reasonable. Thumbs up for this tasty break, sheltered from the bustle of the neighborhood.
Bon Bao, 4, rue des Dentelles in Strasbourg. Open Thursday to Monday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.