Even as I start thinking about this post, I feel it verging dangerously close to turning into an advertorial for Wow Bao. I am sure that I can end that thought process quickly if I confess that I often have used Wow Bao as a hangover cure. There is something so satisfying and light about the consumption of some fried chicken or pork potstickers when your head is a little bit dodgy and if you wash that down with some light ginger broth you will instantly feel so much better. I first learnt that in New York when I resurrected my slightly damaged body and soul with some steamed dumplings and hot and sour soup at the Excellent Dumpling House on Lafyette.
When in Chicago I often think nothing of riding 30 minutes down the brown line around the loop to imbibe and take sustenance of a similar soothing recovery dish at Wow Bao. My usual spot is the one located at Corner of State and Lake right beneath the corner of the Loop El line at 1 West Wacker Blvd.
The other Wow Bao that I sometimes end up at is the one next to Macys inside the Water Tower at 835 North Michigan Ave. This one is Ok but sadly (for me) they only serve the Bao’s and not the potstickers, so I do not frequent this one as much.
Apart from the dumplings or potstickers as they call them that they serve, I love the touch screen ordering system. To beat the line or queue you can place your order via one of the screens outside the store and then just swipe your card and it ‘should’ be waiting for you when you get to the counter. My reality was that most of the time, unless it was a really long line, it would take about the same amount of time to get my food. It is a lot more fun though playing with the screens and you feel as though you are beating the line system somehow anyway.
Depending on my mood and stomach I will get 5 or sometimes 8 potstickers fried or steamed. If I am with a friend or family we get both. You can add different sauces as well (sesame-mustard or soy-ginger). I like the soy ginger one. I also favour the soups as well,, you can choose from a thai herb broth, a dumpling noodle, and a thai chicken noodle. I am sure that there used to be some sort of ginger broth, which they served in a cup. That was a really excellent cleansing drink and a definate cure all.
I will be honest and say that the dumplings do not match anything that you will get in China, or even from an authentic Chinese resturant, but for fast food potstickers you cannot go far wrong with the offerings at Wow Bao. I have enjoyed every bowlful that I have ever eaten here, and that is a lot more bowl fulls than I have often eaten while on my El Stop Food Hunt adventures.
For the loop location on West Wacker drive get off at the State and Lake El Stop it is right there, for the Water Tower location get off at the Chicago stop on the red line and walk towards the lake to the Water Tower shopping mall