It does seem like a while since we had last heard of the name Bao Makers — these folks had previously made its name known when they had first established at Horne Road taking over the former premises of Windowsill Pies at Horne Road serving up burgers that sees the use of lotus leaf buns. Since then, the brand name has somewhat come and gone; there was one period of time where the concept was operated alongside a Butler’s Steakbar at Jiak Chuan Road in the Keong Saik neighbourhood — a subsequent revival also saw it operate from a space within Westgate at one point of time. It has been quite some time that Bao Makers had once again faded from the local F&B scene, though the same folks are also behind Mio Fine Foods at Neil Road that opened its doors in 2022. With that being said, Bao Makers had made its return to the F&B scene yet again in 2024; this time round, the concept is revived in a smaller way than it was previously — its new location being the same shop unit that the now-defunct KORIO had once occupied at Far East Square. Bao Makers describes itself as a “takeaway / delivery-only” establishment due to the size of the shop unit which it operates from — that being said, there are two dining tables dedicated to Bao Makers that one can dine-in at; one table comprising of seats good for two pax, the other for four pax. The food menu at Bao Makers is split into sections dedicated to Premium Baos, Classic Baos, and Sweet Baos — they also do offer a small selection of Noodles for those whom are looking for something more substantial than their Bao offerings. Sides are also available to share across the table, while the choices of beverages are limited to Cold Brewed Teas.

For those looking to try a wider variety of items that Bao Makers have to offer, Combo 2 is probably the item to go for. Combo 2 allows for patrons to open for one (1) Bao, one (1) Noodle and also comes accompanied with a side of Vegetable Chips. For our order, we have opted for the choice of noodles to be the Mushroom Scallion Oil Noodles, while we went for the Salted Egg Chicken Bao for the choice of our Bao — it is worth noting that the Salted Egg Chicken Bao is an item listed in the Premium Baos section of the menu; all Premium Baos will be charged an additional $0.50 on top of the base price of the Combo. Bao Makers offer their Mushroom Scallion Oil Noodles in both spicy and non-spicy forms; we went with the former. These turns out to be rather similar to that of Chinese-style La Mian; the noodles being tossed in scallion oil and chili oil that hints of the fragrance of Szechuan peppers — the menu also describe the dish to come with elements such as shiitake mushrooms, baby spinach, and half of an Ajistuke egg. The noodles provided a good, bouncy bite, while the mushrooms added a slight tang and an earthy note — the Ajistuke egg coming with soft whites and a flowy egg yolk; something that we really wished to have some dumplings to go along with. When it came to the Salted Egg Chicken Bao, the menu describes the Salted Egg Chicken Bao to come with elements such as signature salted egg sauce, seasoned fried chicken and steamed sesame bun. We would advise to actually consume the Baos first; we do note that the Lotus Leaf Buns that Bao Makers uses in their Baos are actually made in-house — that being said, leaving it lying around for a while does cause the Bao to soak in some moisture and soften over time and hence becoming of a texture that is not quite as ideal.

We liked how Bao Makers had made use of sesame here rather than to adopt the approach of using charcoal to give their Lotus Leaf Buns a shade of grey — one could even taste the nutty and roasty hint of black sesames amidst the bun here; given the texture of the crisp, golden-fried batter of the seasoned fried chicken here, one could also note that the seasoned fried chicken seems to be prepared in-house either. The seasoned fried chicken was also served with the new hot, juicy and tender; the salted egg sauce bearing a rich, creamy texture that binds all of the elements together, while also bringing a saltish yet sweet note that we preferred to have for salted egg dishes in general. The Vegetable Chips as mentioned in the menu seemed to be Lotus Root Chips — at least that was what they were about one the day that we had dropped by Bao Makers. These were sliced really thinly and not heavily seasoned; provides a crisp crunch without feeling greasy in any way. Bao Makers had been a concept that has come and gone several times over the years; this iteration of Bao Makers does seem to bring them a little closer to the days of their Horne Road times — heavily focused on their Bao offerings, but with the Baos being sized smaller to allow one to try more variants in one go. They have also seemingly went with a more artisanal approach as compared to back then, especially with their emphasis on making their own Lotus Leaf Buns. Considering how they now have a more concentrated menu that focuses on their niche and the slight change in their business model, we do hope that things do turn right for Bao Makers this time round — the savoury Baos are priced between the range of $3.50 to $4.50, while the Combos are listed at the basic price of $12 before any add-ons / additional charges; quite well-priced as a slightly fancier lunch option for the office folks in the Central Business District to say the least.