Chef Chow gives us the ultimate throwback with this menu spotlighting her creative East-meets-West signature dishes
Happy 10 years, Little Bao! This casual dining institution, which began as an intimate counter-dining concept back in 2013, is where Chef May Chow – crowned Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017 – kicked off the trend for Chinese fusion cuisine (most notably with her iconic pork belly bao). Chef Chow’s 10th-anniversary menu is a whimsical journey that celebrates the classic flavours of Little Bao, along with the chef’s roots and memories.
The delicate smoked eggplant salad (HK$78) is given a Middle Eastern twist. Drizzled with mild Chiu Chow chilli oil, smoked aubergine is layered with labneh and toasted pine nuts and garnished with a heap of slivered spring onion.
The lamb tartare (HK$178) is inspired by classic French beef tartare, instead using Ibérico lamb seasoned heavily with takana (a Japanese mustard green), giving the dish a fresh, tart flavour profile. The puffed tofu chips used for scooping provide the perfect crunch – a creative alternative to bread or crackers.
From the 2014 menu, the orange chicken karaage (HK$128), made with local three-yellow chicken, is a must-try. Salted egg-yolk foam is mixed into the batter, which is fried to a golden brown before being glazed in a light orange-honey sauce with a hint of cardamom. This dish is Chef Chow’s homage to the addictive orange chicken served up by American fast-food chain Panda Express (Chef Chow, what about some honey-walnut shrimp for your next foray into Chinese-American cuisine?).
These OG mac and cheese rice rolls (HK$128) feature freshly made cheung fun (Cantonese steamed rice rolls) in a Cheddar cheese sauce laced with spicy, salty, umani mentaiko (salted and fermented cod roe). This dish is the epitome of East-meets-West comfort food.
Of course, a bao is a given on this 10th-anniversary menu. The 24-hour sous-vide short rib bao (HK$148) makes a triumphant return from 2019, the result of a collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohnof of Le Du in Bangkok (currently ranked number 1 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants) and newcomer Niras here in the 852.
The bao is layered with tender short rib, tangy slaw and a hefty slice of deep-fried aubergine (a common ingredient in Thai curries). Creamy, comforting and dripping with green curry mayo, this high-in-demand bao captures the essence of affordable luxury.
An ice-cream bao (HK$68) is a must for dessert at Little Bao. In each deep-fried mantou (Chinese steamed bun), strawberries marinated with Sichuan peppercorn are sandwiched alongside homemade lychee-coconut ice cream – then the whole dreamy concoction is drizzled with condensed milk. This dessert pays tribute to Chef Chow’s stint at Michelin-starred chef Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation, where she conceived the idea of Sichuan strawberries.
Little Bao’s 10th-anniversary menu is deeply personal to Chef Chow, reflecting her childhood, career and achievements. The innovative fusion dishes are timeless and approachable, especially for those who’ve never had a taste of local ingredients or experienced East-meets-West culinary interpretations. These throwback signatures remain outstandingly delicious each and every time.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.