Flanked by some of Canberra’s busiest roads, Dickson has always been a bustling hub. It has also long held the reputation of having an exciting multicultural dining precinct, attracting curious eaters from all over the city.
Even though the town centre is looking very different these days with the addition of light rail, walking through the suburb on a weekend, it is evident its reputation as Canberra’s long-held go-to place for a good meal is still intact with crowds filling the streets, car parks and restaurants.
New construction has delivered even more dining options along the newly transformed Cape Street, where our lunch destination, Super Bao, sits nestled under a residential block.
Founded by advertising creatives turned restaurant owners, Paul Xu and Angel Zhang, Super Bao first launched as a market stall before opening a permanent restaurant in Dickson two years ago, followed by a new outlet in Verity Lane Market this year. The duo created a menu of soft, fluffy, handmade bao buns filled with Asian flavours inspired by memories from their childhoods in Shanghai and family recipes passed down for generations.
With a modern, vibrant mural of ancient Chinese warriors stretching half the length of the restaurant, the rest of the styling is simple and minimal, with smart blonde wooden tables offering a mix of seating for large and small groups anchored by a well-stocked bar at the front.
Known first and foremost for their popular handmade baos and bao-gers, the team has just overhauled Dickson’s menu.
“With the new outlet in Verity Lane offering our signature bao and bao-gers, we took the opportunity to upgrade our Dickson menu with a fine selection of modern fusion Asian flavours. We wanted to dial up the restaurant dining experience by featuring more main dishes and fewer small bites that featured in the previous menu,” Angel said.
The new menu still features the five most popular baos, but for our lunch, we bypass those on this visit and start the meal with an order of Pork Belly Skewers.
The thin-sliced pork belly with an appetising char grill you can see, smell and taste is served with a tangy chilli sauce. The pieces are perfectly cooked, arriving piping hot, juicy and full of flavour – they’re a stellar start to the meal.
For mains, we order a seafood, meat and vegetable dish. First to arrive are the Wasabi Sauteed Prawns. It turns out that we would not be missing out on a taste of baos after all on this trip. For this dish, the housemade buns have been lightly fried and topped with creamy sauteed prawns. It is messy, but worth it. As I eat with my hands, one bite reveals the subtle hint of wasabi in the plump, buttery prawns and the satisfying crunch of the bao.
Next on the table is the Mighty Black Angus Beef Brisket, an 8-hour slow-cooked beef brisket. An antidote to the impending cold winter ahead of us, this is pure joy and comfort in a bowl. Fragrant, saucy, the soft, tender meat is falling apart in that mouth-watering way slow-cooked meat does when prepared well. Absorbing all the juices, the addition of white radish adds a nice texture to the dish.
To balance out the richness of the meal, we finish with asparagus with toasted pistachio. Very lightly pan-fried and cut on a bias, I don’t think I have ever had asparagus prepared in this way; I make a mental note to try it at home.
According to Angel, “Good food will not only fill the stomach but also light up the day”.
Our lunch visit certainly did both, with Super Bao delivering in one sitting their culture and history with the addition of modern flavours and presentation.
Super Bao is located at Unit 240, 6 Cape Street and is open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.