Baobao Burger: Revolutionizing Your Thoughts on Vegan Burgers

By Sophie Steiner, March 4, 2022

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The word ‘vegan’ tends to be associated with health food... and bites of bland, rubbery this or that, meant to mimic meat that many a time (not always, but far too often) falls flat.

Baobao Burger – an ongoing, fully plant-based burger pop-up taking place at Egg from 6-9.30pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday – is all about breaking that misconception and revolutionizing whatever preconceived notions you may have about vegan burgers.

Image courtesy of Baobao

The idea is to bring together a combination of tastes from around the world, using unexpected ingredients to spruce up an everyday burger, with no compromise on flavor. 

The result: a plant-based burger that is just as good as a meat burger – some may even say better. 

While many restaurants around Shanghai are stacking their burgers high with foie gras, bacon, fried eggs and the like, Baobao is all about adding flavor in other, less fatty ways.

Flavor doesn’t have to equate to fat; it can come from spice, fruit, nuts and sauces – all of which Baobao either source sustainably or make completely from scratch, eliminating that factory-made question mark over an ingredient that is turning your insides into sludge. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Expect ingredients like Mexican chipotle peppers, Japanese furikake seasoning, charred pineapple, almond yogurt tzatziki, aquafaba cream, miso cabbage slaw, tomato chili jam, pickled red onions and more, all topped on a juicy Beyond Meat burger patty or Omnifish fillet. 

Image courtesy of Baobao

Baobao definitely isn’t the first place in Shanghai to offer a plant-based burger, but they are the first to feed the masses with a solely plant based burger concept – and one that boasts so many options and a true and thorough focus on that delicious component.

So let’s take a look at the menu already! 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

First up, a tangy shmear of almond yogurt tzatziki sauce coats the Mediterranean Beach Burger (RMB74), a Beyond Meat burger adorned with tomato chili jam, pickled red onions and a sprinkle of coriander and cumin seeds. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

On a rotating bi-monthly schedule, there’s also the Maui Luau Burger (RMB70) – topped with pineapple, wonton strips, furikake, chili oil, and lettuce, all on a plush vegan bun – and the Miso Miso Burger (RMB68) – the spiciest of the lot, glazed with teriyaki and stacked tall with miso-laden creamy cabbage slaw and homemade chili oil. 

The Embarcadero Burger (RMB70) sees a hearty scoop of fresh guacamole and pico de gallo paired with tortilla chips and radish slivers for that necessary crunch.

For the traditionalists, of course, there is the OG Classic Burger (RMB60) that doesn't skimp on the fixings. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

For those looking more for the surf side of the menu, the Spice-Sea Fish Filet (RMB68) features not one, but two plant-based Omnifish filets, fried until crispy so that the 'fish' texture and exterior crunch had us questioning our own sanity over if we weren't really eating battered and fried fish.

A hefty dollop of tangy, tartar-like dill sauce anchors crunchy chili peanuts, marinated cucumbers and lettuce to the homemade bun, creating a scrumptious bite that leaves you begging for summer beaches (for another fish sandwich). 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

The sides are just as standout as the main event.

Easily one of our favorite bites of the night, the extra crispy, extra salty Tater Tots (RMB22) (that arrive tableside with a side of middle school nostalgia) can be upgraded (hint: you want that upgrade) to Bulgogi Kimchi Tater Tots (RMB48).

Drizzled in a chipotle aioli made from cashew cream and oat milk (instead of the customary mayonnaise), the tots are tossed with ground Beyond Meat, kimchi, furikake seasoning and spring onions.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

And instead of nachos, you'll find crunchy fried Tofu Chips (RMB32) served with a Baobao 'cheese' sauce made from cashew nuts, for all your dunking needs. 

Image courtesy of Baobao

The popup is set to run through mid-March, but a little birdie told us it may be extended for another month if you readers go and love it as much as we do. The plan is to keep the successful pop-up running and eventually turn it into a full restaurant at a TBA new location.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Baobao’s mission is: “Every time we eat, we have the power to improve our future.”

The meat industry alone produces 18% of the world’s carbon emissions. As diners, when we choose to eat less meat – even for one meal – we are improving our planet’s future. 

“I learned in my career that the best way to get people to do good is to make sure it is in their own self interest,” explains Baobao founder, Shiyin Wang, “So a sustainable restaurant will work if the reason people are coming is to satisfy their taste buds.” 

Baobao isn’t about forcing or expecting diners to give up the happiness of eating meat. Instead, they are offering an alternative that is just as tasty so you can do good for yourself and good for the environment. 

Plain and simple: Better for the planet, better for you.

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6-9.30pm.

See a listing for Egg

Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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