Who knew that Disney Pixar will be producing a film with a baby Chinese dumpling as the star? Alongside Disney Pixar’s the newly-released film Incredibles 2 is their short film, Bao. The short is directed by Domee Shi (the first woman to direct a Pixar short film) with the story revolving around a childless mother who cooks a bao that magically comes to life.
So, what exactly is a bao? Bao or Baozi is a Chinese dumpling that is stuffed and steamed— not to be confused with Mantou buns which aren’t stuffed. There are different ways baos can be filled and they are typically dipped into soy sauce or vinegar and can be further customized to one’s liking.
The bao shown in this short film is inspired from the recipe of the director’s mother’s, Ninghsa Zhong. From dough that’s made from scratch, to the complex pork filling, to steaming it to perfection, this short film will have you craving Chinese food. Shi’s mom, Ningsha Zhong, even served as a consultant to the Pixar team, and gave dumpling-making tutorials.
If the film got you thinking about bao, here are some recipes you can try out at home—after (or before) heading out to the cinemas!
Turn your beef bulgogi bowls into baos! And add some kimchi slaw for a refreshing take on this sandwich.
2 Soy-marinated Tilapia Sandwich
Add some wasabi mayo for a smooth but spicy kick!
3 Pork Belly Buns
Fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork slices sandwiched between pillowy-soft buns. Yum!
4 Pork Inasal Buns
Instead of pulled pork, these buns use pork inasal. They’re just as good!
Bao and Incredibles 2 are currently showing in cinemas nationwide.