Bao, Wow! They’re Like Fluffy Street Tacos

One of the top taco stands in Mission Beach doesn’t technically serve tacos at all: it serves bao: the classic Chinese street food consisting of round buns folded around grilled or braised meats and other fillings. Now what do those sound like?

Bao are basically tacos made in a steamed bun. You’ll be tempted to think of those buns as fluffy flour tortillas, too, especially if you start with Bao Beach’s number one offering: the carnitas bao. They take Mexican style braised pork, and stuff it in the bun with pickled cucumber and shallots, cilantro, BBQ sauce, rock sugar, and peanuts. This bao and taco hybrid is indeed the best of both worlds!

The rest of the counter shop’s bao cover a world of influences, including Korean bulgogi, Japanese karaage fried chicken, and maple BBQ pork belly. There are Chinese char siu and crispy fried shrimp for those who like to keep their bao fusion free, and also a baked tofu and vegetable option for vegetarians.

Regardless which you order, go ahead and try not to think about tacos while you eat them. We dare you.