My manager took a couple of coworkers and myself out to lunch last Monday. We decided to go to the Westfield Century City food court, and chose to eat at Take A Bao collectively. I would never be the one to choose Americanized Asian cuisine, but my manager wanted it. And since he was paying, I didn’t want to make it hard on him by wandering off elsewhere.
Thai Peanut Chicken – grilled chicken, peanut sauce, pickled carrots, cilantro, scallions, crushed peanuts
I don’t think Take A Bao actually cooks any of the stuff in-house, since I saw no kitchen (and they’re located in the middle of the food court). This “bao” (with the buns some Chinese restaurants serve Peking duck with, not the baos like BBQ pork bao) was very dry and dense. It didn’t have that airiness and softness that these buns are supposed to have. This felt more like a mantou that was previously frozen (probably was). Oh, and the thai peanut chicken was okay.
The hoisin was too overpowering in this one. It felt like the pulled pork was smothered with the sauce, then microwaved. I’m never one to refuse more hoisin sauce (being Chinese), but the excess amount and the lack of other flavors makes this also just an okay choice. The two baos were served with a napa cabbage salad, which looks and (probably) tastes like their Chinese chicken salad, sans chicken.
Despite my reservations and apathy about the food at Take A Bao, I do admit that it’s pretty decent for food court fare. Of course, nothing can compare to Santouka, but remember that food courts were filled with the likes of Sbarro back in the day. This is at least a small step above that. But given the choice, I wouldn’t go to a food court for lunch.
Chris Hei grade: C
Take A Bao
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067