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Eleven Bao Buns You Should Try in Denver

The options seem endless

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Bao buns, in all their pillowy goodness, have been making their way onto Denver's mainstream menus steadily over the past few years. There are the classics: ramen restaurants and dim sum offerings, but there are also some modern options that range wildly in their fillings and also in the kind of setting they appear in.

From breakfast food to pork belly to Big Mac renditions, there is a flavor profile that fits any appetite in the world of steamed buns. Check this list for the best ones in Denver and add your favorites to the comments if we missed it.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Ace Eat Serve

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The braised short rib bun is a rite of passage on the menu at this perpetually hot spot in Uptown. The pork belly version is a bit richer but also a winner.
Adam Larkey
This small but mighty eatery led by restaurateur Frank Bonanno is known for its killer ramen but the bao buns are also a highlight. Three come to an order that takes 15 minutes and they can be stuffed with braised pig or pork belly or duck confit.
Adam Larkey
The bao mi buns at Cho77 harmonize all the elements: richness (pork belly), spice (black pepper), heat (sriracha mayo), and crunch (pickles). Each bite strikes this delicate balance and makes you wanna come back for more.

Departure Restaurant + Lounge

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This hot spot in the posh Cherry Creek neighborhood offers a flavor-bursting shiitake bao that brings together carrot and ginger to complement the mushroom.

Lucky Cat

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The choice at Lucky Cat is a barbecue bun made with pork shoulder or a fish taco bun (a truly unique take on this dish) with tilapia and tartar sauce. The great news? You can order them individually to try both.
Andra Zeppelin

Star Kitchen

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We couldn't write this list without including some of the most authentic dim sum in Denver. Star Kitchen serves a variety of bao buns (both baked and steamed) on their dim sum menu, available every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Yelp

Super Star Asian Cuisine

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Just down the street from Star Kitchen, Super Star Asian cuisine is a rival for the authenticity. They also serve bao buns on the dim sum menu, but offer it all day. The steamed barbecue pork bun is a definite favorite here.
Super Star Asian Cuisine Facebook
Go for the ramen, stay for the buns! The pork belly and shrimp are mainstays, and there is a rotating third option with fried green tomato occupying that slot now. We recommend one of each just to be safe.
Adam Larkey
The only breakfast bun on our list, and perhaps the only one offered in Denver. A big twist on the breakfast classic: bacon and eggs. Get it weekends during brunch.
Adam Larkey

Zoe Ma Ma

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Zoe Ma Ma's food makes us wish there was a Chinatown in Denver. Mimicking street food. The steamed, organic buns come filled with your choice of marinated minced pork, chicken with pickled greens, or a vegetarian option. There are two locations: one in Boulder and one next to Union Station.
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Vinh Xuong Bakery (2)

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The bao buns at Vinh Xuong are a bit elusive. They are offered every day, but they are only there until they sell out. Our advice? Go early and often.

Ace Eat Serve

Adam Larkey
The braised short rib bun is a rite of passage on the menu at this perpetually hot spot in Uptown. The pork belly version is a bit richer but also a winner.
Adam Larkey

Bones

Adam Larkey
This small but mighty eatery led by restaurateur Frank Bonanno is known for its killer ramen but the bao buns are also a highlight. Three come to an order that takes 15 minutes and they can be stuffed with braised pig or pork belly or duck confit.
Adam Larkey

CHO77

The bao mi buns at Cho77 harmonize all the elements: richness (pork belly), spice (black pepper), heat (sriracha mayo), and crunch (pickles). Each bite strikes this delicate balance and makes you wanna come back for more.

Departure Restaurant + Lounge

This hot spot in the posh Cherry Creek neighborhood offers a flavor-bursting shiitake bao that brings together carrot and ginger to complement the mushroom.

Lucky Cat

Andra Zeppelin
The choice at Lucky Cat is a barbecue bun made with pork shoulder or a fish taco bun (a truly unique take on this dish) with tilapia and tartar sauce. The great news? You can order them individually to try both.
Andra Zeppelin

Star Kitchen

Yelp
We couldn't write this list without including some of the most authentic dim sum in Denver. Star Kitchen serves a variety of bao buns (both baked and steamed) on their dim sum menu, available every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Yelp

Super Star Asian Cuisine

Super Star Asian Cuisine Facebook
Just down the street from Star Kitchen, Super Star Asian cuisine is a rival for the authenticity. They also serve bao buns on the dim sum menu, but offer it all day. The steamed barbecue pork bun is a definite favorite here.
Super Star Asian Cuisine Facebook

Uncle

Adam Larkey
Go for the ramen, stay for the buns! The pork belly and shrimp are mainstays, and there is a rotating third option with fried green tomato occupying that slot now. We recommend one of each just to be safe.
Adam Larkey

Zengo

Adam Larkey
The only breakfast bun on our list, and perhaps the only one offered in Denver. A big twist on the breakfast classic: bacon and eggs. Get it weekends during brunch.
Adam Larkey

Zoe Ma Ma

Facebook
Zoe Ma Ma's food makes us wish there was a Chinatown in Denver. Mimicking street food. The steamed, organic buns come filled with your choice of marinated minced pork, chicken with pickled greens, or a vegetarian option. There are two locations: one in Boulder and one next to Union Station.
Facebook

Vinh Xuong Bakery (2)

The bao buns at Vinh Xuong are a bit elusive. They are offered every day, but they are only there until they sell out. Our advice? Go early and often.

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