Food Truck Bite of the Week: Bowling for Lunch at Bao & Bowl
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.
The Truck: Bao & Bowl Food Truck
The Cuisine: California-Chinese style dim-sum and rice bowls
Specialty Items: The rice bowls
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 22 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.
Some foods were designed to travel: the falafel, the taco, the sandwich, and the bao are just a few of the one-handed wonders that have fueled the growth of civilizations. It's little surprise these items are staples in food truck cuisine. Just a few months out of the gate, Bao & Bowl is bringing its own renditions of dim sum staples like the bao, siu mai, and lotus leaf steam sticky rice, but also a selection of rice bowls served in Chinese take out containers.
The "big" baos are certainly that, as our order of the classic BBQ Pork Bao made with heritage pork showed ($6, chicken, and vegetarian options also available). It arrived in a paper container that strained to brace the massive, softball-sized steamed bun within, and the bulk made me question my decision to order it as an appetizer. While the filling was fatty and deeply flavorful, the huge halo of bun surrounding the modest amount of filling grew a little tiresome by the end. As sweet and fluffy as the bun was, there is only so much a person can eat.
On the other the hand the Silken Egg & Beef Bowl ($9, minced beef, garlic, mushrooms, bok choy, cilantro, egg yolk, fried garlic, steamed rice) hit the mark, with just enough rice, greens, and meat. I was a little suspicious of the contribution the raw egg yolk would actually provide, but it was enough to enrich the whole and thicken the juices from the umami-rich beef.
The take out containers they fill for the rice bowls are big enough that it took me two whole meals to finish one order, making it a great value. In these early days, the kitchen still seems to be working out the kinks, so orders can sometimes reach a crawl at peak hours. But with the good quality food made with well-sourced ingredients and a new variety of the food, Bao & Bowl is making a strong showing that we expect will only get better.