The Culture Trip (TCT): Hi Sid, tell us something about yourself. A chef who specializes in Bao is a rarity in India. Where did you get the idea from?
Siddharth Somaiya (SM): So I was working on the West Side of Manhattan when I first encountered Bao commercially. There was this little place run by a lady which always had a long line out side it. She served only 5 types of Baos , but they were tremendous and everyone lined up to get some.
I saw similar scenes when I went to Hong Kong at the better Bao places, and so when I came back, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to put into practice this thought I had been harbouring.
TCT: The Bao is such a unique thing and your menu shows some real innovation. How did you manage that in India?
SM: All of the guys you see working with me are people I knew before going to the US. So after I graduated, I worked in a South Bombay restaurant at a very entry level in the kitchen. Most of these guys were there. Then my parents sent me over to study at the Ohio State University to study business and by the time the course was ending, I told them I really want to get back to the kitchen. That was when they said, go and train professionally. Be big in the field or don’t do it at all.
TCT : What’s the plan going forward?
SM: I am not very sure, but the plan is to make this bigger as soon as possible. Right now we are still limited to South Mumbai — hopefully we will go bigger soon.
TCT Mumbai recommends :
Leek Fritters – super crispy on the outside and packed with amazing flavour. The icing was the eggplant (brinjal) sauce on top.
Prawn Crackers – Yes, the flat, fried chip-like things visible in the photo are single prawns that have been converted into fritters. The crispy, salty awesomeness just set up the wait for the Baos even more.
Coconut Shrimp Bao – The shrimp was done Thai style, with a tamarind glaze and topped with spicy mayo. The freshness of the shrimp and the flavors of the different glazes and sauces was completely stupefying. A must try for prawn fans.
Pork Belly Burger – Chef Siddharth imports the pork from Belgium, and after shredding it, puts it in a base of Gouda Cheese. The result is a soft burger with crispy outsides that is absolutely unique.
For dessert, we tasted a Chocolate Bao, and it will suffice to say that even though it looked like the most unconventional dessert ever, it tasted better than most run of the mill stuff out there.
Reach the Bao Haus Co. at Ph: +91 9222264287 or 022 22043446