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Departure’s short rib buns
Lucy Beaugard/Eater

12 Bao Buns to Try Around Denver

They’re filled with glazed pork belly, fried eggplant, and more

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Departure’s short rib buns
| Lucy Beaugard/Eater

Steamed Chinese bao buns are now all over Denver, stuffed with rich fillings like glazed pork belly, wild mushrooms or even Thai eggplant. The Denver dining scene welcomed these pillowy pockets just a few years back, and now street food spots, sit-down restaurants, and strip mall staples are all serving them. Here are 12 tasty bao buns to try now.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Star Kitchen

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2917 W Mississippi Ave
Denver, CO 80219
(303) 936-0089
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The dim-sum menu at Star Kitchen includes carts piled high with dumplings, rice, cakes, and buns. Steamed bun options include sweet cream, barbecue pork, and several others.

Star Kitchen/Facebook

2. Vinh Xuong Bakery

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2370 W Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80223
(303) 922-0999
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Widely known across Denver for a perfectly balanced banh mi sandwich, Vinh Xuong also impresses with oversized pork buns. Stop in early morning for a warm steamed one.

Vinh Xuong Bakery/Facebook

3. Uncle

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2215 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 433-3263
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Uncle is known for cranking out some tasty ramen bowls, but the small bites here are just as delicious. Fried Chinese eggplant is served on soft steamed buns with roasted miso mayo, red cabbage, and plum vinaigrette.

Uncle/Facebook

4. Linger

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2030 W 30th Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 993-3120
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LoHi’s restaurant in a former mortuary has an eclectic mix of foods and flavors. Included are various buns like bison pastrami, Mongolian barbecue duck, and Korean fried chicken.

Linger/Facebook

5. there...

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3254 Navajo St
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 500-3254
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This restaurant has the ability to make everyone who stops in feel like an old friend. On the menu are four “Pacman-shaped” buns: smokey chicken, pork and pickles, soft shell crab, and shiitake.

6. Zoe Ma Ma

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1625 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 545-6262
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The steamed organic wheat buns at this popular Union Station street food spot can come filled with marinated pork or veggies. They’re also worth trying at the original, Boulder location.

Ashley Hughes/Eater

7. ChoLon

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1555 Blake St #101
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 353-5223
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ChoLon’s happy hour and its French onion soup dumplings are local favorites, but the steamed buns with sesame honey-glazed pork belly and pickles are a sleeper hit.

ChoLon/Facebook

8. Bao Chica Bao

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1800 Wazee St
Denver, CO 80202

Bao Chica Bao is one of 16 food and drink stalls in the newly opened downtown Milk Market. Bun variations here include char siu pork, tofu, mushroom, pork belly, and several others.

Bao Chica Bao/Facebook

9. Cho77

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42 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
(720) 638-8179
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With chef Ryan Gorby running the kitchen, Cho77 continues to challenge diner’s palates. The cross breed between a bao bun and banh mi becomes the bao mi served with black pepper pork belly, sriracha mayo, and pickles.

Cho77/Facebook

10. Bones

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3508, 701 Grant St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 860-2929
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Another Frank Bonanno concept, Bones serves steamed buns stuffed with braised pig, pork belly or very delicious duck confit.

Bones/Facebook

11. Ace Eat Serve

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501 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 800-7705
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Chef Thach Tran’s bao buns at this Capitol Hill playground are memorable with varieties such as the black pepper short rib with fried kimchi or the fried eggplant with roasted tomato chutney.

Anna Regan/Ace

12. Departure Denver Restaurant + Lounge

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4707, 249 Columbine St
Denver, CO 80206
(720) 772-5020
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“Top Chef” veteran Gregory Gourdet masters pan-Asian cuisine with the creative menu at Departure Cherry Creek. The simple yet intricate short rib buns are served with kimchi and a miso barbecue sauce.

1. Star Kitchen

2917 W Mississippi Ave, Denver, CO 80219
Star Kitchen/Facebook

The dim-sum menu at Star Kitchen includes carts piled high with dumplings, rice, cakes, and buns. Steamed bun options include sweet cream, barbecue pork, and several others.

2917 W Mississippi Ave
Denver, CO 80219

2. Vinh Xuong Bakery

2370 W Alameda Ave, Denver, CO 80223
Vinh Xuong Bakery/Facebook

Widely known across Denver for a perfectly balanced banh mi sandwich, Vinh Xuong also impresses with oversized pork buns. Stop in early morning for a warm steamed one.

2370 W Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80223

3. Uncle

2215 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Uncle/Facebook

Uncle is known for cranking out some tasty ramen bowls, but the small bites here are just as delicious. Fried Chinese eggplant is served on soft steamed buns with roasted miso mayo, red cabbage, and plum vinaigrette.

2215 W 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 80211

4. Linger

2030 W 30th Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Linger/Facebook

LoHi’s restaurant in a former mortuary has an eclectic mix of foods and flavors. Included are various buns like bison pastrami, Mongolian barbecue duck, and Korean fried chicken.

2030 W 30th Ave
Denver, CO 80211

5. there...

3254 Navajo St, Denver, CO 80211

This restaurant has the ability to make everyone who stops in feel like an old friend. On the menu are four “Pacman-shaped” buns: smokey chicken, pork and pickles, soft shell crab, and shiitake.

3254 Navajo St
Denver, CO 80211

6. Zoe Ma Ma

1625 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
Ashley Hughes/Eater

The steamed organic wheat buns at this popular Union Station street food spot can come filled with marinated pork or veggies. They’re also worth trying at the original, Boulder location.

1625 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202

7. ChoLon

1555 Blake St #101, Denver, CO 80202
ChoLon/Facebook

ChoLon’s happy hour and its French onion soup dumplings are local favorites, but the steamed buns with sesame honey-glazed pork belly and pickles are a sleeper hit.

1555 Blake St #101
Denver, CO 80202

8. Bao Chica Bao

1800 Wazee St, Denver, CO 80202
Bao Chica Bao/Facebook

Bao Chica Bao is one of 16 food and drink stalls in the newly opened downtown Milk Market. Bun variations here include char siu pork, tofu, mushroom, pork belly, and several others.

1800 Wazee St
Denver, CO 80202

9. Cho77

42 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
Cho77/Facebook

With chef Ryan Gorby running the kitchen, Cho77 continues to challenge diner’s palates. The cross breed between a bao bun and banh mi becomes the bao mi served with black pepper pork belly, sriracha mayo, and pickles.

42 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

10. Bones

3508, 701 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203
Bones/Facebook

Another Frank Bonanno concept, Bones serves steamed buns stuffed with braised pig, pork belly or very delicious duck confit.

3508, 701 Grant St
Denver, CO 80203

11. Ace Eat Serve

501 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Anna Regan/Ace

Chef Thach Tran’s bao buns at this Capitol Hill playground are memorable with varieties such as the black pepper short rib with fried kimchi or the fried eggplant with roasted tomato chutney.

501 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

12. Departure Denver Restaurant + Lounge

4707, 249 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206

“Top Chef” veteran Gregory Gourdet masters pan-Asian cuisine with the creative menu at Departure Cherry Creek. The simple yet intricate short rib buns are served with kimchi and a miso barbecue sauce.

4707, 249 Columbine St
Denver, CO 80206

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