“No dogs, no rats, no cats, just Chinese food”. Céline Chung and Billy Pham made this their promise back in 2019, when they opened up Petit Bao on Rue Saint-Denis. Their goal? To fight harmful stereotypes about Chinese food while making us fall in love with authentic dishes popular amongst natives. So suffice it to say, these two partners are getting out the big guns for their new spot, Gros Bao!Docked along the Canal Saint-Martin, this incredible 350 m2spot offers Parisians a hyper-immersive experience: fire red waxed concrete floors, a cloud of Hong-Kong-style suspension lamps, a massive menu mural… and a view of the bao bun masters hard at work in the kitchen (unless you’d rather enjoy the view of the canal from upstairs). The day we went for lunch, small plates fluttered out of the kitchen to the rhythm of clacking chopsticks: legendary pork and ginger baozi; incredible eggplant in soy sauce; fresh noodle salad with sesame and cilantro; and, the cherry on top, a whole lacquered duck (but FYI they only prepare 10 a day!) carved on a serving cart in front of you and served three different ways – in a soup, with pancakes, and with fried rice. How about something sweet to end the meal? They’ve got sesame buns, slices of watermelon, or a comforting fried bao bun filled with sweetened condensed milk. // François Phan
FEELING THIRSTY? There’s a delicious watermelon juice to sip on (€4), Deck & Donohue on tap: IPA, pilsner, blanche….
PRICES: À la carte €14-34. Lacquered duck to share €60.