Introducing King Bao Restaurant in Orlando

The national bao trend has hit Orlando full-on now that we have a bao-only enterprise. King Bao restaurant opened in late April, bringing us a selection of sweetish buns stuffed with fillings from the Orient. The King Bao restaurant's open kitchen is stocked with plenty of hot sauce.

The King Bao restaurant is less than two weeks old so it's not fair to do an all-out review. Instead, I'll say just this: The dining room is inviting if barebones. The service is warm. And the food has promise. My group was impressed with the ingredients' freshness and the variety of fillings. Plus, the prices couldn't be better: $3 to $3.75 per bao. Two or three per person makes a meal. On the down side, we would have liked bolder flavors, bigger portions (but then again, look at the low prices), and maybe buns that were a little less elastic and sweet.

On the Menu at the King Bao Restaurant

Here's what we sampled.

The front bao from King Bao restaurant is the Kickin Chicken, filled with kimchi-fried chicken, cucumber, sriracha aioli and scallions. Behind it is the meeker Veganville, a crispy tofu bao wit a shallot-ginger-pepper relish.

The Fire Tots at King Bao restaurant were a fun side to share for $2.50. The "tater tots" were mothered in Sriracha aioli and topped with jalapeno slices, togarashi and chives.

I especially liked the King Bao restaurant's chili-lime-marinated shrimp bao with guacamole, lemon-pepper aioli and cilantro (left). On the right is a crab steak version with Old Bay seasoning.

The sweets lover among us divvied up a Tarzan at King Bao restaurant. It's a decadent fried bao with Nutella, bananas and powered sugar.

Try it for yourself. The King Bao restaurant is located in Orlando's Mills 50 District where Rhapsodic Bakery used to be, across from the Mills Avenue 7-11. I expect that, with a few tweaks and a couple more tables, this will grow into a neighborhood staple.

Here's the King Bao restaurant's dining room, a simple space that's a good fit for Mills 50.

More food fun in Mills 50. Take a bao adventure.