We’ve eaten more hotdogs from Andrew Levins’ The Dip than we care to admit, and enjoyed Jonkanoo’s jerk chicken while it lasted. Now, we’re making room for Goodgod’s newest canteen resident: Belly Bao.
Head chef Sylvia Tran discovered the tasty Taiwanese treat a few years ago while travelling in America. “We had these baos in New York and we just thought they were amazing,” Tran says. “After I’d eaten one, I never forgot about it.”
Distress hit when Tran returned to Sydney to find she was living in a bao black spot. “They were impossible to find – there was nowhere that sold them.
“I just kept thinking about how I really wanted to eat it,” Tran says with a laugh. “And so I thought, why don’t I give it a go and see how it turns out?”
One year, countless market stalls and a residency later, it’s fair to say it’s turned out pretty well.
In Taiwan the traditional gao bao consists of a soft, steamed, taco-shaped bun filled with slow-braised pork belly, pickled mustard greens, crushed peanuts and coriander. You can snack on this classic between beers, along with several other signature baos.
The permanent kitchen is a first for Belly Bao, with the menu evolving to cater to Goodgod’s party revellers. “I’ve experimented with a few flavours during the year, but I didn’t want to release them until I’d found the right spot,” Tran says. These new additions include a soft-shell-crab bao with watercress, chilli aioli and lemon vinaigrette; sweet potato fries; and Belly Bao Chicken (BBC) served crunchy, sticky or spicy.
If you’re worried about how eating might impair your dancing, do not fear. Tran says, “Our food is a real snack kind of food. It’s small, so you can hold it in one hand – it’s really on the go.”
Belly Bao at Goodgod Small Club
53–55 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Wed to Fri 5pm–10pm