Bao Dao Taiwanese Kitchen (寶島)
Shop 8, 376 Victoria Ave
Chatswood NSW 2067
(02) 9419 6290
Taiwanese cuisine seems to be enjoying ‘du jour’ status at the moment in Sydney, with allegedly Taiwanese themed restaurants/ cafes/ tea places popping up just about everywhere. I say 'allegedly' because not all of them are real Taiwanese. Taiwanese inspired, perhaps. I won’t go into details about what makes an authentic Taiwanese restaurant, as that is very subjective. I’ll head straight into the latest discovery – which I do classify as authentic… (well… as authentic as one gets in Sydney, Australia nonetheless…)
This restaurant opened up not too long ago in Sydney’s other Chinatown- Chatswood. Bao Dao Taiwanese Kitchen is located a short stroll from the station, it is an unassuming lil' place with not much seating at all (maybe about 30 max). The choice of food is also quite restricted (I’m hoping the selection will grow as time goes on) but what you do get is just about the most authentic Taiwanese street food as you can get here.
|Chicken floss on rice|
Adding to the authenticity is the “Huan Ying Kuan Ling” (Welcome!) greeting in mandarin by the staff which is the exact greeting you get when you venture into a shop in Taiwan. I think they stole this idea from the Japanese “irashaimase”, and it was refreshingly delightful to hear the staff in the kitchen conversing in mandarin with a Taiwanese twang.
|Noodle with pork sauce/ soup|
The main carbohydrates are a choice between rice and noodle, and you get a selection of side dishes (which appears to be seasonal) to go with the carbs. Pricing is reasonable by Sydney standards. However, one thing I discovered was the amount of chilli present in almost all the dishes. Granted the dishes aren’t hot hot, but there are other seasonings available.
The must-have dish is the Qua Bao – one bite transported me back to my childhood. At $4 a pop it ain’t cheap, but if you’re hankering for a bit of a Taiwanese taste and a plane ticket is too much, this is a good compromise. Calling the Qua Bao “Pork Bun” (which it kinda is) is selling it short. It’s nothing like what you get at Yum Cha. Just trust me on this one and try it. (and no... I'd completely forgotten to take a photo of it... Too eager to chow down...)
|"Qua Bao" - Pork Bun - image taken from Bao Dao website|
By the way, I LOVE the soy milk here- this is no pre-packaged soy, but freshly made soy milk, so that you get that thick texture with a bit of ‘tanning’ and sugarless. Just the way it should be. Authentic.
I reckon this is the best option for a quick Taiwanese meal in Sydney without resorting to hopping on a plane.