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13 ways to bust out the bao buns

Check out these wow-worthy bao dishes from Morrison Living, Bama Dining, American Dining Creations and UNC Health. Plus, get bao hacks from chefs who definitely know how to wow with bao.

Whether you’re new to the bao game or have been hip to the adorable, craveable, pillowy hug of a sandwich for a while now, there’s always room for some bao inspiration, fusion, adaptation and general appreciation. Take it from Morrison Living Chef Matthew Juarez: “We serve residents with a variety of backgrounds and experiences,” he says. “In talking with them every day, some have traveled around the world and lived in other cultures and others have never stepped foot outside of Texas.”

Chefs can use bao buns to play to their audience perfectly, as in Juarez’s pork-and-apple bao. “This is a popular and well-known combination,” he says. “So, to use ingredients residents know in a different way can open them up to trying different and unique dishes.” For bao success, his advice is “be as creative as you want to be but keep your ingredients simple and fresh.”

The versatile bao can be savory or sweet, and as you’ll see, can fit into any daypart (don’t miss Bama Dining’s bao breakfast dog). And bao can be switched up with lots of items, including tortillas (see Chef Brad Sanford’s al pastor bao). Read on for bao-spiration, plus ideas on what to serve with bao buns.

Contact Tara at [email protected]

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