SG
Wow Bao (CHI)

We stumbled across this place, Wow Bao, on the ground floor of a huge, blingy, 80's-style mall on Michigan Avenue. My friend Ido had mentioned it to me, so I was ecstatic that we randomly came across it. A fast food joint of exclusively Chinese steamed buns! Their tagline is Hot Asian Buns, which is hilarious. The name Wow Bao is genius though, don't you think?

There are a few Wow Baos around Chicago. This one is literally right when you walk through the revolving doors of the Water Tower mall. Check out the marble-- SO DONALD TRUMP! On a side note, we noticed that Chicago is really big on revolving doors.

Wow Bao (CHI)

This entire experience "Wow-ed" me. (Come on, laugh). First of all, you can order on these touch screen computers! Just like at the movie theater. Minimal human interaction-- sign me up! Check this out.

Choose.

Wow Bao (CHI)

Pay.

Wow Bao (CHI)

Checkout.

Wow Bao (CHI)

Et voila!

Wow Bao (CHI)

This is the true definition of fast food. These computers should be mandatory everywhere. I felt like I was in Hong Kong or in a warped William Gibsonian universe or something.

Now, we just wait with everyone else. The prep space of the front was so tiny, but used so well. Check out this range hood.

Wow Bao (CHI)

Wow Bao (CHI)

They also make their own ginger ale, which was pretty good. Matt overheard a lady in line ask her friend, "Do you want some Asian soda?", about the ginger ale. OMG DYING!

Alright, on to the actual HOT ASIAN BUNS.

We brought them back to the hotel room for a late afternoon snack.

Wow Bao (CHI)

We got a 6-pack of Spicy Kung Pao Chicken, Spicy Mongolian Beef, and BBQ Pork. We opened the box and thought, "Hey, how are we supposed to know which is which?"

Wow Bao (CHI)

But Wow Bao is smarter than you.

Wow Bao (CHI)

The actual HOT ASIAN BUNS weren't as good as we would have liked. Pretty salty, as you may imagine.

Wow Bao (CHI)

Wow Bao (CHI)

But you know what, the entire concept of this place, from start to finish is pretty awesome that it didn't really bother me that the actual product wasn't stellar. I mean, if I were walking around the center of town and had a hankering for a HOT ASIAN BUN in an area where Asian food is extremely scarce, and I could actually score one of these for $1.50... well, I'll take what I can get.

God Bless America. And the HOT ASIAN BUN.

WOW BAO
Inside main entrance of Water Tower Place
835 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago
T: 312.642.5888
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8 comments

  • Yeah, I suppose flipping your bun over and seeing:
    beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef・beef
    would never get old.

    yoko on

  • Yoko, you are talking to the ultimate Packaging Whore. Come on!

    kayoko on

  • Hot Asian BUNS?! OMG, take me there. Dude, this is genius. But, I wonder if it would get old after you went a few times. I mean in the end, don’t we go out to eat for the food? Great place to take someone as a novelty thing though.

    yoko on

  • It’s not trying to compete against sit-down restaurants. It’s a quick (seemingly) healthy bite. And there’s nothing similar to it, so when you’re craving that taste, it’s the place to go. I lived in Chicago 2 yrs. No shortage of good food, and still this has a unique niche in the options.

    Ido on

  • that’s my girl!

    kayoko on

  • I am soooo jealous that you have such fantastic places in the States. I wish I could just walk into a joint and ask for a bao!

    Sakura on

  • I thought you were blogging about me. But then I realized it couldn’t because my hot Asian buns are FANTASTIC.

    Haha, loved this post.

    rikomatic on

  • Oh Im so sad that I didn’t try this place!!! I walked in and was soooo WOWed too. I loved how cool and Asia it was – computer operated. We did not stop though, dang. We did however go upstairs to the food court. Did you go??? It was the coolest part of the trip. A cafeteria style food court that you can pick out anything you want really quick and put it on your charge card then pay as you leave. That had paninis, pizza, comfort food, 2 types of asian, mexican, italian, soup…. it was the bomb. i loved it. we MUST bring this to cali.

    Sasha Kaplan on

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