I’ve been doing my best to follow my own advice and take my lunch breaks to stroll around town. It’s a great way to explore my new city and pause my day for some self care. On almost every walk, I passed Tom’s BaoBao, an incredibly clean and bright restaurant. They draw you in by making their fresh bao right in the window. I checked the menu online and loved how simple it was. They have different flavors of bao (including sweet bao!) and drinks. You can order in easy combos and enjoy the food there or to-go. My kind of place!
I asked a new friend to join me one day for lunch so I could finally go inside. The restaurant itself is very cool looking. The decor is bright and cheery, and they clearly put effort into personalizing this store to fit in with the Providence culture. One wall has a cute lobster print on it and the others have black-and-white images of food. It’s very crisp and clean–the perfect type of environment to enjoy a meal alone or with friends.
Tom’s BaoBao makes ordering easy by listing out their bao options along with two different combo choices. You can also order a la carte if you’re feeling indecisive or particularly hungry. I decided to try one go-to item and something unique. I ordered a combo with the vegetarian bao with bok choy, shiitake, and smoked tofu and the local seasonal flavor, lobster. Then I couldn’t decide if I wanted the red bean or maple walnut bao for dessert. I ordered the maple walnut, but the really kind cashier threw in the red bean so I could taste both. I love a man who gives me free food 😉
They have all the bao ready to go, so once you order and pay your plate is ready right away. I grabbed a sparkling water and some soy sauce to go with my beautiful plate of bao. I tried the veggie first so I could save the lobster as my treat at the end. It turns out the veggie was just as much of a treat. The bun was perfectly steamed and served at a nice warm temperature. The filling was so rich with flavor that it didn’t need sauce, though it tasted great with a small amount of soy. They made the lobster bao a little smaller than the veggie, but it was just as filling and very tasty. I think I had a sweet tooth that day, because my favorite one was the red bean. It had the perfect texture and taste–very creamy and not too sweet. If they’re serving the red bean for dessert when you go to Tom’s, don’t hesitate on your dessert choice!
I loved this place so much that I actually thought about going back to pick up some takeout for dinner. It was a light, filling, inexpensive, and quick meal. It’s perfect for a lunch break in the middle of the workday, a pick-up for a picnic on a pretty day, or really any type of meal in between. I highly recommend stopping in the Providence or Boston location. Let me know what flavor you choose if you end up at Tom’s BaoBao!