The metro’s first bao-themed resto and its fully loaded rice bowls and steamed buns arrive in Kapitolyo
Just when you thought Kapitolyo has reached peak foodie haven status, Don Bao joins the party and opens its doors. Long-time buds and certified foodies Kevin Te, Larrissa Ong, Melissa Tan and Carl Ventura opened Don Bao on Nov. 30, 2016, just in time for the holiday rush.
While the friends have been playing with the idea of opening a restaurant together, plans started taking a more serious turn on May of last year. Their menu took roughly two months to finalize.
“It was really a group effort, more of trial and error to find out which dish works and what doesn’t,” Te tells Expat.
The most challenging part, they found, was winding their choices down to their current menu, which has eight dons (rice bowls) and seven baos (buns).
“These are flavors that we really enjoy, we personally like. We made sure that we also love what we serve,” Ong said.
Here’s what we had at Don Bao. Fair warning, though: If you’re on a diet, this is going to be rough. Stay strong. Or not. Go and enjoy Don Bao. It’s worth it.
A Japanese-inspired Hawaiian classic has reached Kapitolyo, thanks to Don Bao. Kick off your meal with this sweet and tangy savory treat.
Wagyu Beef Cubes
Succulent and tasty, their Wagyu Beef Cubes burst into a party of flavors after one bite. Oh yes, one stick won’t be enough. Best paired with ice-cold Asahi beer.
A don or a donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish often topped with meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Aside from using authentic Japanese rice, what makes Don Bao’s dons so sinfully good is their unlimited rice!
You can almost hear all those doing the low-carb diet moaning, ‘Oh, Lord, have mercy.’
Katsu Curry Don
For those intimidated by curry spice, this is a great gateway dish. It’s mild enough that you taste every component of the curry — especially that giant pork katsu.
According to Ong, guests will soon be able to choose the spiciness level of their curry. Can’t wait to come back for that!
Crispy Chicken Don
The dish features a generous serving of crispy chicken katsu on a bed of fluffy Japanese rice topped with shredded cabbage and their secret sauce. It’s tangy and creamy and everything that goes well with the crispy katsu.
A definite must-try, this don has ebi (shrimp) and kani (crab) tempura drizzled with their special sauce. Even the rice gets a special kind of sauce that compliments the tempura, making you crave for more.
They also serve the classic Chicken Teriyaki Don, Katsudon, Gyudon, Hamburger Curry Don, and Salmon Belly Teriyaki Don (which makes me want to go back as soon as possible).
A bao is a steamed bun filled with various awesome stuff like meat, seafood, vegetables and sauces. In its simplicity, the bao makes a great platform for any ingredient — any flavor or texture — to shine.
Currently, Don Bao has seven different baos, from the classic to the crazy. But according to Ong and Te, they will soon add new flavors to the menu — an inevitable event when foodies come together.
Piggy Bao Ride
This is where it all started: Don Bao’s version of the classic pork bao. It has pork katsu with home-made teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, shredded cabbage and nori strips.
Don Bao’s classic pork bao married with tangy and spicy sriracha mayo gave birth to the Fire Bao. The addition of home-pickled radish and carrots balances out the spicy mayo, letting you enjoy its rich flavors in every bite.
Bao Chika Bao Bao
Get dirrrty with Don Bao’s signature Bao Chika Bao Bao: crispy and juicy chicken katsu with kimchi, coriander, and black sesame. An explosion of flavor in your mouth. Trust us, you’ll come for more.
P. King Bao
We all the know the worst thing about peking duck is its price. Thanks to Don Bao, this P. King Bao isn’t only affordable, but it’s also lip-smackingly good! It’s got grilled chicken with hoisin sauce, cucumber, crushed prawn crackers for added texture and topped with spring onions. All hail the King — the P. King.
A certified winner at the Ultimate Taste Test, this Crazy Bao will drive you cray-cray with its complex flavors (Is it sweet? Is it salty? Is it zesty?) and a myriad of textures in a single bite.
This bao is packed with kani in eel sauce, Japanese mayo, tobiko, crunchy tempura flakes and spring onions. This is definitely the favorite out of last night’s feast.
Yes, we tried them all except their Good Morning, Bao! and Go Fish! Bao.
Fried Bao with Nutella S’mores
Between two halves of fried bao is a giant toasted marshmallow sitting on top of Nutella covered graham cracker.
Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.
Other sweet treats include fried bao with Milo and Condensed Milk, and Ice Cream and Salted Caramel.
Make sure you also try their Sake Bomb. It is exactly like a Jaeger Bomb, except with sake. So bang on that table and get ready to chug.
They owners also have several bazaars lined up this year, so you can catch them on various locations around the metro — just make sure you follow them on social media for updates.
Apart from their resto and bazaars, Don Bao also accepts orders for parties… or just a lit Friday night at home.
Don Bao is located at 1 Brixton Street (beside Ace Hotel and Suites), Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City. They are open from Monday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. For orders and inquiries, call (0998) 863-8671. Follow them on Instagram @donbao.ph
By CHING DEE