Panda Bao Bao

A quirky good-value restaurant serving tasty baos and noodles Discuss this article

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Raise your hand if you’ve watched that video of the baby panda sneezing more than 15 times. We did. We love those furry guys.

So, you can imagine our excitement when we heard about the new panda-themed Chinese restaurant. It’s only been two months since Panda Bao Bao opened out on Old Airport Road, and while there haven’t been any real panda sightings (obviously), there’s been plenty of talk about the food and vibe.

The small space fits five tables and if you were in any doubt about the theme previously, you won’t be once you sit down. There are pandas everywhere – on chopstick stands, bowls, spoons and there’s even a giant panda face painted on the wall. With bao buns for eyes. So, it’s a cutesy, kitsch venue.

As for the menu, there’s not a lot on it, but it’s a strong selection of baos and noodles.

As the name suggests, the baos are the restaurant’s signature eats. The fluffy pan-fried variety come filled with beef and vegetables. The buns are soft and juicy, though they could do with a bit more of the filling.

The prawn siu mai are literally bursting with rice but the prawns (one per dumpling) are balanced on top of them. We’ve not seen the dish like this before and it isn’t really what we’re expecting.

Any niggles are forgotten about the minute the pot of Chongqing noodles arrives, though. Thin, flat noodles are submerged under crushed peanuts, Chinese greens and beef mince with sesame seeds and chilli floating at the surface of the soupy dish. It’s hot, oily, spicy – everything you expect from the famous bowl. And the Sichuan peppercorns send a zing through our taste buds.

If you’re unfamiliar with this cuisine, this is the perfect place to check it out. It’s tasty, good value and a lot of fun.

The bill (for two)

1x pan-fried beef bao Dhs26
1x prawn siu mai Dhs28
1x chinese vegetables Dhs24
1x Chongqing noodles Dhs28
1x shrimp fried rice Dhs32
1x golden egg sauce bao Dhs18
1x avocado juice Dhs18
1x green tea Dhs18
Total (including taxes) Dhs179

The bottom line

Good baos and better noodles, on a budget.

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Al Karamah, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 055 512 7461
  • Travel: Old Airport Road, Al Karamah
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Times: Open daily 11am-10pm. Ramadan timings: 7pm-1am.

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