A fast-casual restaurant is now serving steamed buns in Harvard Square

Tom’s Bao Bao offers an array of bao fillings, from pork to curry beef to lobster.

Cambridge, MA - 06/30/16 -     Tom Tong, founder of the GanQiShi restaurants in China, is opening his first restaurant in the US, Tom's BaoBao in Harvard Square, featuring bamboo-steamed baozi made fresh.  Section:  BIZ  Reporter:  Janelle Nanos  Slug:  12chinesebao
–Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Fast-casual eatery Tom’s Bao Bao opened last week in Harvard Square, bringing an array of steamed buns delicacies straight from Asia.

Owner Tom Tong has a Chinese bao chain called GanQiShi, which serves up nearly 250,000 bao a day in their more than 200 locations throughout China. Now, he’s bringing his steamed buns stateside, setting up at 84 Winthrop St. in Cambridge.

The restaurant has “bao artisans,” also known as baoists, who have apprenticed for at least three months (many in China) to perfect their steamed bun-making skills, according to a release. Bao is serious business—each bun must be 100 to 102 grams, with 16 to 22 hand-pinched pleats, according to the company.

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Tom’s Bao Bao offers a variety of fillings, including pork, curry beef, vegetarian with bok choy, shiitake, and smoked tofu, and a special New England-centric lobster bao. More options will be introduced regularly.

The restaurant features a large glass window looking into the kitchen so patrons can watch the baoists at work. Tom’s Bao Bao is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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