Famous Bao is a Chinese restaurant that has grown pretty popular in its short life span. We at the Clog decided to take a look and see if the food was worth the crowd.
We arrived right after noon, the prime time for when classes end and students are out in search for lunch. There were a considerable number of people already standing in a queue and the tables were packed. With all the rush, the atmosphere felt a little hectic — the man at the counter yelling out numbers and people hanging around for a seat didn’t help.
Luckily, the wait in the line wasn’t too bad and took just long enough to decide what to order. The set-up was pretty casual and nothing too fancy, so if you’re looking for a place with a quiet, mellow ambience, then this may not be the best choice. The restaurant is on the smaller side and the number of people outnumber the seats at least during rush hour, but if you don’t feel like waiting for a seat, you can always take it to go. Once the initial rush subdues, the place becomes a little bit more relaxed.
We at the Clog decided to try three things on its menu: the Spicy Chicken Iron Pot, the Tofu Beef Iron Pot and the Spicy Cumin Hand Pulled Noodles. All three dishes we ordered were between $8 and $9. Most of their food lies somewhere in that range, making it very decently priced.
Spicy Chicken Iron Pot
This dish was impressive — it came in an actual iron pot lit from beneath by flames that kept it all warm, and they lasted for quite some time. We would recommend the iron pots just based on how cool it looks in real life and the wow factor from when you first see it.
And what’s better is that it tastes pretty good too. The chicken had just enough crunchiness going for it. There was an interesting play of flavors especially in the sauce at the bottom. If you’re used to spicy food then this is only mildly spicy and not overwhelmingly so.
Tofu Beef Iron Pot
This was another delicious meal arriving hot and flaming — we could see it bubbling. Make sure you don’t burn your tongue in your haste to taste it. The tofu is very soft and almost melts in your mouth, and the beef is also quite tender. This iron pot isn’t spicy and was a little more mellow in flavor than the zesty chicken one.
Spicy Cumin Hand Pulled Noodles
We would only recommend this dish if you can handle extremely spicy food. Otherwise, steer clear because your entire body will feel like it’s on fire. The noodles themselves were delicious but the spiciness of the hot oil made it a little bit of a struggle. If you’re up for the challenge, then go straight ahead.
Overall, the food was authentic with a filling portion size and did not disappoint. And we at the Clog wouldn’t mind making another visit to Famous Bao to check out some of its other dishes. It’s a restaurant that’s still trying to catch up to its popularity, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re in the mood for some rockin’ Chinese food near campus.