Through bao making, students learn a unique part of Chinese culture

Upper school Mandarin students took a field trip to Tom’s BaoBao in downtown Providence to learn about the history of bao, a delicious Chinese street food, and to try their hand at making it.

This unique Chinese street food holds a special place in the heart of many who have called China home, or who have visited China for travel. Authentic Chinese cuisine is a vital element of Chinese culture. Having Tom’s BaoBao in Providence is a small way of experiencing China within the United States and reminds us how often worlds collide these days.

More information about Tom’s BaoBao:

Tom’s BaoBao is dedicated to serving authentic, fresh bao with local ingredients. Each and every employee undergoes rigorous training until they have mastered the art of steaming and folding the delicate bread and preparing the filling. The company emphasizes its work with local organizations to source employees. They believe that learning a new craft and working with a diverse team is rewarding. In Rhode Island, DORCAS has proved to be an invaluable partner in this mission. The company’s employees are carpenters, musicians, students, engineers, and home-makers. Tom’s BaoBao works hard to engage with and be an integral part of the communities where they operate. Using furnishings designed and made locally, displaying hand-painted murals by a local artist, serving specialty beverages crafted in RI and MA, and making donations to local organizations. 

Bao (also called baozi, baobao, or steamed buns) is a delicious street food that first appeared over 1,200 years ago in China. This leavened dough can be filled with anything from pork to curry beef to spicy lotus root. Tom’s BaoBao prepares each and every bao by hand, in front of customers and serving them fresh out of the bamboo steamers.



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