With over a decade of experience sampling the steamed buns in Chinatown and beyond, I've finally compiled a list of the top contenders for the title of "Best Bao in Chicago." From classic pork fillings to unexpected vegan twists, I've tasted them all.

Join me on this lighthearted journey as we explore 12 different baos that will satisfy your cravings and leave you dreaming of fluffy buns for days to come. So buckle up and get ready to salivate, because it's time to find out who truly serves the best bao in Chicago!

Take a Bao Eats

Take a Bao Eats
🗺️ 3517 N Spaulding Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
☎️ 773-888-1084
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–10 PM
Monday: 11 AM–10 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–10 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–10 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–10 PM
Friday: 11 AM–11 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–11 PM
Personalized service
Delicious dumplings
Free dessert

First and foremost, the personalized service at Take a Bao Eats is top-notch. The staff was friendly, knowledgeable, and took the time to explain every dish on the menu. They even made some recommendations based on my personal preferences!

Now let's talk about the star of the show - the baos. Oh boy, were they delicious! The dough was soft and fluffy while the fillings were flavorful and juicy. I tried several different types, including the classic pork bao and the vegetarian option with mushrooms and tofu. Each one had its own unique taste that left me wanting more.

But wait, there's more! As if their dumplings weren't enough to satisfy my cravings, they also offered a free dessert with my meal. It was a small but tasty surprise that capped off an already amazing dining experience.

Overall, I highly recommend Take a Bao Eats to all bao lovers out there in search of the best in Chicago. With their personalized service, delicious dumplings, and free dessert - what more could you ask for?

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BITES Asian Kitchen + Bar

BITES Asian Kitchen + Bar
🗺️ 3313 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657
☎️ 773-270-5972
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–10 PM
Monday: 11 AM–10 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–10 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–10 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–10 PM
Friday: 11 AM–11 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–11 PM
High-quality, delicious food
Aesthetically pleasing presentation
Boozy boba available
Attentive and friendly service
Nice outdoor seating area

First of all, let me start by saying that the food at BITES Asian Kitchen + Bar is simply amazing. The baos are made with high-quality ingredients and are bursting with flavor in each bite. Not only that, but the presentation is so aesthetically pleasing that I almost didn't want to eat them (but of course, I did).

If you're looking to enjoy your baos with a little extra kick, I highly recommend trying their boozy boba. It's the perfect combination of sweet and strong - just like my personality.

What really stood out to me was the attentive and friendly service from the staff. They went above and beyond to ensure that we had a great experience. Plus, the outdoor seating area was a nice touch - it's always nice to enjoy good food while soaking up some sun.

Overall, BITES Asian Kitchen + Bar is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for delicious baos in Chicago. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

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Saucy Porka South Loop

Saucy Porka South Loop
🗺️ 335 S Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60606
☎️ 312-285-2303
🌐 Website
Sunday: Closed
Monday: 9 AM–2 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM–2 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM–2 PM
Thursday: 9 AM–2 PM
Friday: 9 AM–2 PM
Saturday: Closed
Excellent food
Gluten-free options available
Fusion menu items
Quick service
Great for lunch or dinner

First off, I have to say that the food at Saucy Porka is simply excellent. The baos are packed with flavor and the ingredients are fresh and delicious. As someone with dietary restrictions, I was thrilled to see that they have gluten-free options available, which made my meal even more enjoyable.

But what really sets Saucy Porka apart is their fusion menu items. They combine traditional Asian flavors with Latin American influences to create unique and exciting dishes. It's like a foodie adventure in every bite!

The service at Saucy Porka is also top-notch. Despite being busy during lunchtime, the staff was quick and attentive, making sure everyone got their food in a timely manner. It's a great spot for a quick bite during your lunch break or for a sit-down dinner with friends.

Overall, I highly recommend giving Saucy Porka South Loop a try if you're looking for some of the best baos in Chicago. It's an experience that combines fantastic flavors with excellent service, making it a perfect spot for any occasion!

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Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings
🗺️ 2002 S Wentworth Ave #103, Chicago, IL 60616
☎️ 312-799-1118
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Monday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Tuesday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Friday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Saturday: 11:30 AM–9 PM
Best dumplings ever
Reservation recommended
Quick service and delicious food
Beautiful tea presentation

First of all, let me just say that these are the best dumplings ever. I mean it. The texture is perfect and the filling is flavorful without being overwhelming. My taste buds were doing a happy dance with every bite.

One thing to note is that reservation is recommended because this place gets busy quickly, especially during peak hours. But don't worry, the wait is definitely worth it.

The service here is quick and efficient without sacrificing quality. From the moment you sit down, you're greeted with a beautiful tea presentation that's almost too pretty to drink (almost).

As for the bao, they have a variety of options available and each one packs a punch of flavor. I particularly enjoyed the pork belly bao which had a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.

Overall, I highly recommend Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings for anyone looking for an authentic and delicious Chinese dining experience in Chicago. And trust me, you won't regret it!

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🗺️ 1542 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
☎️ 773-904-8606
🌐 Website
Sunday: 12–9 PM
Monday: 11 AM–9 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–9 PM
Friday: 11 AM–9 PM
Saturday: 12–9 PM
Korean Asian Fusion
Udon noodle with egg and kimchi bowl
Great for group setting
Travel-friendly and filling food
Friendly and accommodating staff

Firstly, I have to say that the Korean-Asian fusion cuisine at urbanbelly is a game-changer. Their menu offers a range of dishes that are perfect for sharing with friends or family. One standout dish was their udon noodle bowl with egg and kimchi. The combination of the savory broth, chewy noodles, and spicy kimchi made my taste buds dance in delight.

The restaurant itself has a casual vibe, making it great for a group setting. The staff were very friendly and accommodating, ensuring we had everything we needed throughout our meal.

Now let's talk about their baos! They offer two options: pork belly and tofu. I opted for the pork belly bao which was perfection. The bun was fluffy and soft while the pork belly was tender with just the right amount of fat to balance out the flavors.

What impressed me most about urbanbelly is that their food is travel-friendly! They package their food in such a way that it stays warm and fresh even after an hour-long journey back home.

Overall, I would definitely recommend urbanbelly to anyone looking for a unique dining experience with delicious Korean-Asian fusion cuisine. Don't forget to try their baos - you won't regret it!

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Min's Noodle House 渔家重庆小面

Min's Noodle House 渔家重庆小面
🗺️ 3235 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608
☎️ 312-465-2999
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10 AM–8:30 PM
Monday: 10 AM–8:30 PM
Tuesday: 10 AM–8:30 PM
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 10 AM–8:30 PM
Friday: 10 AM–9 PM
Saturday: 10 AM–9 PM
Delicious noodles and dumplings
Flavorful soup with a kick
Filling and big servings

First of all, let me tell you that this place is a hidden gem for those who are looking for authentic Chinese cuisine. As soon as I walked in, I was welcomed by the aromas of steaming hot noodles and dumplings.

I ordered their famous "Spicy Beef Noodle Soup" and it did not disappoint. The soup had a flavorful kick that hit my taste buds just right. The beef was tender and the noodles were cooked to perfection, which made it a perfect comfort food on a chilly day.

One thing that stood out to me about Min's Noodle House was their generous servings. The bowl of soup was definitely filling and could easily be shared with a friend or two.

Overall, Min's Noodle House is an excellent choice for those looking for delicious Chinese comfort food in Chicago. Their noodles and dumplings are exceptional and their soups will keep you warm on even the coldest of days. So if you're around the area, make sure to stop by and give it a try!

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Wow Bao – Theater District

Wow Bao – Theater District
🗺️ 1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
☎️ 312-658-0305
🌐 Website
Sunday: 12–8 PM
Monday: 8 AM–8 PM
Tuesday: 8 AM–8 PM
Wednesday: 8 AM–8 PM
Thursday: 8 AM–8 PM
Friday: 8 AM–8 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–8 PM
Creative menu
Amazing dumplings
Fast-casual dining
Great service

First of all, let me just say that the menu at Wow Bao is absolutely creative. From their signature baos to their delicious dumplings, every dish has a unique twist on traditional Asian flavors. Speaking of their dumplings, they are nothing short of amazing. The fillings are perfectly seasoned and the wrappers have the ideal texture.

The atmosphere at Wow Bao is perfect for anyone looking for a fast-casual dining experience without sacrificing quality. I was able to order quickly and easily and my food came out in no time at all.

But what really stood out to me was the great service I received from the staff. They were friendly, efficient, and willing to answer any questions I had about the menu.

Overall, I highly recommend checking out Wow Bao – Theater District if you're in Chicago and looking for some delicious bao. Their creative menu, amazing dumplings, fast-casual dining experience, and great service make it a must-visit spot for any bao lover. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!

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Wow Bao - Water Tower Place

Wow Bao - Water Tower Place
🗺️ 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
☎️ 312-642-5888
🌐 Website
Sunday: 12–6 PM
Monday: 11 AM–7 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–7 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–7 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–7 PM
Friday: 11 AM–8 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–8 PM
Quick bite options
Vegetarian options available
Express service
Tasty baos

First of all, let me just say that if you're in a hurry and need a quick bite to eat, this place is perfect. The express service ensures that you won't be waiting long for your food.

As someone who follows a vegetarian diet, I was pleased to find that there were several vegetarian options available. I tried the spicy Kung Pao veggie bao and it did not disappoint! The filling was flavorful and well-seasoned.

But what about the baos themselves? Well, I have to say that they were tasty! The dough was soft and fluffy, and the fillings were generous. Each bite was like a flavor explosion in my mouth!

Overall, I had a great experience at Wow Bao - Water Tower Place. It's a great spot for anyone looking for a quick bite or wanting to try some delicious baos. If you're looking for an affordable yet tasty meal option in Chicago, check out Wow Bao!

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Wow Bao – Lakeview

Wow Bao – Lakeview
🗺️ 2806 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657
☎️ 773-433-5333
🌐 Website
Sunday: 11 AM–9 PM
Monday: 11 AM–9 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 11 AM–9 PM
Friday: 11 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 11 AM–10 PM
Perfectly steamed dough
Flavorful fillings
Affordable with rewards program
Must-try chicken egg rolls

Firstly, the perfectly steamed dough in their baos is a game-changer. The texture is soft and fluffy and melts in your mouth with each bite. Secondly, the flavorful fillings are the stars of the show. From classic pork to spicy Mongolian beef, each filling has its own unique taste that makes it hard to choose just one.

What impressed me even more was how affordable Wow Bao – Lakeview is, especially with their rewards program where you can earn points for every purchase and redeem them for free food. It's a great way to indulge without breaking the bank.

While their baos are amazing, don't forget to try their must-try chicken egg rolls as well. They're crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside, making them a perfect addition to your bao feast.

Overall, Wow Bao – Lakeview definitely deserves a spot on my list of the best bao restaurants in Chicago. With their delicious baos, affordable prices, and tasty egg rolls, it's no wonder why they have become a popular spot among locals and tourists alike.

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Chiu Quon Bakery & Dim Sum

Chiu Quon Bakery & Dim Sum
🗺️ 2253 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
☎️ 312-225-6608
🌐 Website
Sunday: 7 AM–9 PM
Monday: 7 AM–9 PM
Tuesday: 7 AM–9 PM
Wednesday: 7 AM–9 PM
Thursday: 7 AM–9 PM
Friday: 7 AM–10 PM
Saturday: 7 AM–10 PM
Authentic Asian pastries
Famous for pork buns and egg tarts
Oldest bakery in Chinatown

Upon arriving, I was immediately greeted by the delicious aroma of authentic Asian pastries. As someone who loves trying new things, I couldn't resist trying their famous pork buns and egg tarts – and boy, was I not disappointed! The pork buns were pillowy soft and filled with savory meat that melted in my mouth. The egg tarts were also to die for, with a buttery crust and a creamy custard filling that left me wanting more.

What sets Chiu Quon Bakery & Dim Sum apart from other places is the fact that it's the oldest bakery in Chinatown. This means that they have had years of experience perfecting their craft – something that definitely shows in their amazing food.

Overall, my trip to Chiu Quon Bakery & Dim Sum was definitely worth it. Their selection of baos is impressive and will surely delight any foodie looking for some authentic Chinese pastry cuisine. If you're ever in Chicago's Chinatown area, make sure to stop by this bakery and indulge in some delicious bao goodness!

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🗺️ 1385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
☎️ 773-360-8791
🌐 Website
Sunday: 12–10 PM
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 12–3 PM
Tuesday: 5:30–10 PM
Wednesday: 12–3 PM
Wednesday: 5:30–10 PM
Thursday: 12–3 PM
Thursday: 5:30–11 PM
Friday: 12–11 PM
Saturday: 12–11 PM
Best ramen
Juicy pork
Fast service
Spicy kick

First and foremost, Oiistar has the best ramen I've ever had in my life. But since we're talking about baos here, let me tell you about their pork bao. It's a game-changer! The pork was so juicy that every bite felt like a trip to heaven. The bun was perfectly steamed and had just the right texture to complement the filling.

The service at Oiistar is also top-notch, they were fast and attentive without being intrusive. And if you're someone who likes a little bit of a kick in their food, then their spicy bao is a must-try! It's not for the faint-hearted though, as it packs quite a punch.

Overall, I'd say that Oiistar certainly deserves a spot on the list of best baos in Chicago. Their pork bao is an explosion of flavor that will leave your taste buds dancing with joy. Plus, with their fantastic ramen options and quick service, it's definitely worth checking out. So next time you're in the Windy City and craving some baos, make sure to give Oiistar a visit!

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MingHin Cuisine

MingHin Cuisine
🗺️ 2168 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
☎️ 312-808-1999
🌐 Website
Sunday: 10 AM–12 AM
Monday: 10 AM–12 AM
Tuesday: 10 AM–12 AM
Wednesday: 10 AM–12 AM
Thursday: 10 AM–12 AM
Friday: 10 AM–12 AM
Saturday: 10 AM–12 AM
Open until midnight
Delicious Peking Duck
Fresh Sweet and Sour Sauce
Attentive staff
Excellent Dim Sum

First of all, the restaurant's hours are a god-send for those late-night cravings as they're open until midnight. But let's get down to what we really came here for...the baos.

The bao selection at MingHin Cuisine is impressive, but there was one standout for me: the Peking Duck Bao. The duck was perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection, with just the right amount of crispy skin. But what really took it over the top was the fresh sweet and sour sauce that accompanied it. The flavors danced in my mouth with each bite.

Aside from their baos, MingHin Cuisine also offers an excellent selection of dim sum. I highly recommend trying their har gow (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings).

But let's not forget about the staff - they were incredibly attentive and made sure our dining experience was nothing short of fantastic.

Overall, if you're looking for some of the best baos in Chicago, look no further than MingHin Cuisine. With their delicious Peking Duck Bao, fresh sweet and sour sauce, excellent dim sum selection, and attentive staff - they've definitely earned a spot on my list of favorites!

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Alex Irvin

Alex enthusiastically explores her hometown of Chicago with an adventurous spirit and a pen in hand. As a freelance writer, Alex specializes in reviewing places in and around the city. From restaurants to theaters, Alex brings attention to interesting finds throughout the area. Along with her reviews, Alex writes articles on Chicago's neighborhoods, engaging events, and her own travel stories. When Alex can't be found behind a computer, you'll find her sampling the newest restaurant, attending a play or strolling around the city.