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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, March 3

Gapers Block

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« Gilded Produce "Gin and Tonic Bandit" Strikes again –– and Gets Caught. »

Restaurant Tue Apr 03 2007

Hot Asian Buns: Downtown

Wow Bao.jpg

Stacks of stainless steel steamers cooked the "hot Asian buns" mentioned on the outside window of Wow Bao. The glass window of the takeaway cooler displayed the campy text, "Take Me. Heat Me. Eat Me." Someone offering expedient service wrote our order on a clipboard. After navigating the line, my pal Rose and I mixed peanut sauce into the noodles it came with. The sauce ran thin but packed a touch of heat. Our vegetable potstickers and dumplings (so far as I could tell, the steamed version of the pan-fried potstickers) included a few nicely crunchy bits inside. These ran out quicker than their dipping sauces (a yellow sauce with more horseradish-style burn than mustard flavor, one sweet and another spicy), so we each picked one to help kick up the noodles. "Fresh ginger ale" snapped of fresh ginger, hibiscus iced tea smoothly refreshed, and both came lightly sweetened, just as I think they should. A side of coconut almond crunch finished the meal with everything the snack's name claims, plus a hint of caramel. One downside: our meal, even ordering it "for here," contained more plastic containers than I care to think about.

Wow Bao buns.jpg
Steamers for buns

Wow Bao ordering.jpg
Taking an order

Wow Bao peanut noodles without chicken- vegetable potstickers and vegetable dumplings-2.jpg

Wow Bao and Bikes.jpg
"hot asian buns" in lowercase

Wow Bao. Take Me. Heat Me. Eat Me.jpg
Take Me. Heat Me. Eat Me.

Location visited: 175 W. Jackson Blvd., (312) 334-6395
Additional location: 835 N. Michigan Ave., (312) 642-5888

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Illinois Master Gardener / April 4, 2007 5:55 AM

For these restaurant people, I would suggest a lunch at Chipotle to see how much less plastic can be used when serving.

paul / April 4, 2007 9:57 AM

wow, that place looks awesome, i love bao. will definitely try.

Taylor / April 4, 2007 11:42 AM

I'm a pretty big fan of this place. It's a nice change of pass from the myriad of sandwich and burrito joints. The extra plastic packaging is pretty obnoxious, however my usual order of the bao combo only uses one plastic container for the side salad, the baos come wrapped in tissue paper inside a paper sack.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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