Bao Bao Dumpling House - Portland, ME

This is how it happened.           

            CHAP CHAP CHAP! A giant rotopoopter sound just like that wakes me up. I kick my door open, peashooter in hand, to russle what hooligans is on my property. ‘Stead of some gumbubble hard-bodies they’s just six green men, naked as little rhino babies, scuffin’ through the leaf piles in my front yard.

            I yell, “a-hya!” And they stop their doo-dinkin’ and turn — swear to God Jesus their peepers is lit up. Look like I just flashed a possum family with a Maglite. Then they make this vibratin’ yawp so I panic and kick a chuck o' dirt at the one closest me. Well, he poots, turns into a little old washtub and walks into the woods.

            You can probably guess by now that I’m spooked. I never seen a fartin’ green fella transmogrify into a washtub and stroll off into no thicket. So I go back inside, lock the door and turn on Wheel to calm my nerves.

            Soon as Sajak goes to commercial I happen to look up and gall-dang-it if those little green goons ain’t at the door, possum eyes glitterin’. Little search lights they send out scannin’ my trinkets. Oh lord I won’t have peace now, I think and rattle a dirty fork against a plate I had by my sittin’ chair. Course they take that as a “come in” and seep through the keyhole. And so there they is, five of ‘em — ‘cept the washtub one he's long gone — standin’ in my parlor.

            Now I don’t live with no one near no one — Buck Pepper’s a good six miles by trail — so hollerin’ wouldn’t-a done any good. All I can think of is to wave at the closest goon. He’s about four foot two, bug-skinny with fangs popping out where his nipples shoulda been. I say, “Fred!” I called him Fred, I think he liked it. “Fred,” I say. “This ain’t how it’s gonna go.”

            But Fred, he smiles and swoops his hands in a figure eight — only had two fingers and they’s changing sizes like inflatin’ balloons — and next thing I know I’m sittin’ in my sittin’ chair in, what I assumed to be, their copter-doo.

            Turns out it is their copter-doo.

            Well now I’m expectin’ them to stick all kinds-a nuisance up my bunghole. Turns out they’re not that type. Instead, me and these five goons bump around the galaxy a while. They learn my tongue quick enough but I never learn theirs. When they want to say things behind my back they vibrate so’s you can feel it way down in your apricots. You know, “VVVVVVVVVVVV.” Not unpleasant to tell you God’s honest.

            I try to ask 'em all the time what this here's about, but they won't tell me. Mum little suckers on that point.

            By and by we skedoo to what they tell me is their home planet: a nice little triangle-shaped red doodad hung up in the four-sunned sky. The Freds — I called ‘em all Fred at that point — call the planet “Dishmaster.” Said it was the closest word in the human language to the original name. Odd fellas.

            I trust by now you don’t believe a word comin’ outta my chuckhole. Heck I wouldn’t either. Soon as I heard some swingin’ dick goin’ on about fang-nipple men drippin’ through keyholes and oglin’ trinkets I’d book them a pillow-room. It happened to me though so I can’t shrug it so easy.

            Anyway their planet smells like a nursing home and the grass is red. All sorts of little fang-nipple dudes hustlin’ around, don’t appear to be no ladies so far as I gather. The four suns in the sky are actually kinda pleasant, each beamin’ down a different hue. And all these Freds got little buildings look to be made outta takeout fork plastic stacked up like beehives. Instead of going into one of those bustle-boxes the Freds take me to a double-wide just like mine ‘cept it’s hoverin’ like a hoverjet, five feet off the ground. ‘Bout this high. High as my arm is now. That high.

            Anyway, inside there’s a big old chair like mine and guess who’s in it but the gall dang washtub! I say, "hey Fred sorry about chunkin' dirt atcha," and the little guy vibrates hard. I get to thinkin' he's gonna zap me, but instead he turns into Darryl Crenshaw. You know Darryl, pool shootin’ dude with the lazy eye?

            Yeah, that Darryl.

            “Hey-uh,” this washtub Darryl says to me.

            “Hey-uh,” I say back. Then curiosity gets the better of me so I ask him what the heck this is all about. And you know what Darryl says? He says to me, “hey I got a favor to ask I need about eighteen bucks. I’m good for it though.”

            That really threw me. Now, by this point I’ve come to find out that I can handle crossin’ the galaxy, talkin’ to vibratin’ hook-nippled Freds, endin' up on a foreign planet and I can even handle seein’ a washtub turn into Darryl Crenshaw. But what I cannot handle is just givin’ a man my hard earned own. And eighteen skittles ain’t buckshot. So I gave him a good firm lookabout. Real firm.

            Washtub Darryl says, "please, brother."

            And that gets me. I'm a sucker for a polite man. So I fish the money out and hand it over. Soon as the green hits Darryl's palm BAMMO! I’m back in my double wide, right here on planet mother earth. Just like that. A-course I scrammed straight to the bar to get a drink — contemplate my journey and such. Then a-course I ran into you.

            But anyway, that’s why I ain’t got your money. I mean, you can go rustle down Darryl for it, but I don’t think that’ll do no good. I’ll get it to you soon though. Sorry about that, but you know how things are.




3.6 Stars

I am a dumpling mega-fan. I will say that I appreciate the dumplings (and rest of the menu) at BaoBao. I appreciate them. Appreciate.





Dragon Wall

Imagine your textbook Chinese/Japanese/Thai restaurant. You know, table made of thermal fused melamine laminate with a matte black finish, metal chair with a padded seat. Now imagine the “premium” version of that. Then throw a big old dragon on the wall. The lighting could be cozier, too. Not to pick BaoBao’s ambience apart too much, but it just does the job, full stop.


Wrapped Up

Great, helpful servers. I had questions and asked for suggestions and they were most helpful. Top notch stuff.



I give this eat a bit grudgingly. I really like what BaoBao stands for, but I’m not sure I love what it actually is. In a couple trips I’ve had the traditional pork cabbage dumplings, lamb dumplings, kung pao chicken dumplings, even vegetarian dumplings. And despite all that, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re hankering dumplings, I can’t say these actually trump (taste-wise) what you could get at some random Chinese restaurant. I know that sounds like sacrilege, akin to claiming that a “nice” burger doesn’t taste as good as a Whopper, but it’s actually different. Bottom line, they’re just not as tasty as I wish they were. It’s a fun place to go for some drinks and a different menu than your average eastern joint. It is not, however, the last stop for your every dumpling need. Gracious, how I wish it were. They have a great beer selection though. So, they’ve got that going for them. Which is nice.


 Bao Bao Dumpling House

113 Spring St.
Portland, ME

(207) 772-8400