Bao Culture Food & Drinks, Penang
Bao Culture Food & Drinks is located in a new area in Penang - the Auto Mall. You can admire beautiful cars as well as the coastline from the cafe and it is one of the best spots in Penang for sunsets.
You can even cycle here and park at their bicycle parking lots (which is what we did!).
The interior of the shop is decorated in a quirky manner with a container unit housing their kitchen and another makeshift food truck to serve drinks and take orders out of.
It is technically located on the mezzanine floor and each shop unit is separated by thin walls. This also means little renovations can be done to the place. But that doesn't stop the shops from being creative with their space. Because of the concept of the mezzanine, they are also non-airconditioned. But since it is just by the sea, it is nice and breezy. You are also not blocked by glass or weird structures, so you can enjoy the view from any seat in the house.
Bao Culture Food & Drinks' menu is crafted with comfort, convenience and affordability in mind. Since Penangites are spoilt for choice with hawker food offerings, it is hard to compete with the price point there. Cafes are considered too expensive to dine at regularly by the locals. Or so that is the sentiment that is shared with us by every cafe owner we met during our trip.
That is why Bao Culture tries to make their drinks and food as affordable as possible. Though drinks will be considered pricey by the locals, by KL standards, they were pretty standard. A lemon juice with sour plum and ice latte are both priced at RM10.
You can enjoy a box full of fries for RM8 and it comes with two sauces - a housemade mayonnaise and chilli sauce.
But really, what you should be trying here is their baos. It works in a DIY manner in which you pick the type of bao you would like, then the filling and sauce. You can pick from three types of buns, namely steam, fried or toasted.
Steamed bao is a very classic take on the dish, but if you are a little adventurous, try the fried one.
Then you get to pick from 5 different types of fillings - egg (RM10), chicken floss (RM12), deep fried fish (RM15), grilled chicken (RM15) and deep fried chicken (RM15). We tried the grilled chicken with a fried bun and we were hooked!
The various sauces you get to choose range from the common teriyaki, tonkatsu, sesame dressing and wasabi mayo to the less common black pepper mayo, tarutaru (a Japanese tartar, duh), and spicy mayo. Beyond baos, they also serve pastas here. Try their carbonara (RM16) for a creamy fix and it even comes with smoked duck. Yummy!
Otherwise, they also do a pretty decent spicy Korean noodle (RM12), which tastes very much like the Nongshim Shin Ramyun.
Overall, it was an incredible meal here at Bao Culture Food & Drinks. We hope they will open a branch in KL soon!
Bao Culture Food & Drinks No. 29D, 3-2 & 3-3, Maritime Piazza,
Karpal Singh Dr, Georgetown, 11600 Penang, Malaysia
Open daily from 12PM-12AM