Little Bao in a big city

Consistently referred to as Hong Kong’s ‘it’ girl, May Chow became an overnight sensation when she opened her restaurant Little Bao back in 2013.

May’s unique style mixes her Chinese heritage and American upbringing to create her own ridiculously cool, burger-style bao. Two years on, her imaginative bao still entice a long line down the street every night.

Drawing on her experience under Head Chef Matt Abergel at equally hip yakitori eatery Yardbird (Matt presented at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in 2015). Yardbird was forced to turn down the chance to open a pop-up stall at Island East Markets in 2012 because they were too busy, so Chow seized the opportunity to go out on her own and explore her creativity.

With her own brand of cool and boundless energy, she took on the pop-up and sold out her 150 bao in the first hour of trade.

Realizing that the idea had legs, Chow returned the next day with twice the amount of buns. She sold out by lunchtime.

Within a year, Little Bao was opened and the hype was real!

Chow experiments with all sorts of crazy combinations from braised pork belly with leek & shiso red onion salad; sesame dressing and hoisin ketchup; and Taiwanese braised shiitake tempeh with truffle mayo and sweet pickled daikon. She’s all about creating something fun and new with a traditional food - similar to the many guises of the taco in the LA food truck scene. 

Little Bao’s success is attributed not only to the culinary delights on offer, but the seemingly effortless style, culture and philosophies with which May runs the business.

A self-confessed “horrible child of this era”, she admits to having a somewhat unconventional business approach: “You need to be young and dreamful to stay at Little Bao.” 

As recognisable for her signature fashion style as she is for her food, don’t miss the chance to meet the Queen of Cool when she visits Melbourne in March.

May will be hosting a Masterclass at Deakin Edge on Sunday 6 March, and combining her fast-food infamy with Melbourne’s own burger boy, Daniel Wilson @ Huxtaburger Hawthorn8 March.