More to try at Optimist Hall: Xiao Bao opens Monday with bold Asian flavors

Jessica Swannie
·2 min read
Xiao Bao brings Southeast Asian flavors to Optimist Hall, with dishes including this Hungry in LA Pad Kra Pow.

On Monday, March 8, Xiao Bao will open its stall in Optimist Hall, adding even more diverse flavor to the food hall. Upon returning from a honeymoon in Asia, owners Joshua Walker and Duolan Li craved a way to satisfy their appetite for Asian food. Enter Xiao Bao Biscuit, the brand’s first spot in Charleston, S.C., named after Walker’s nickname for Li. Now, Charlotte will get to experience the flavors that earned the restaurant mentions in both Bon Appetit and The New York Times.

“We’ve wanted to do Xiao Bao again in another city for quite some time, so we’re super excited to open in Charlotte and really appreciate what we’ve seen of the city and the community here so far,” chef/owner Walker said in a statement.

A love letter, delivered through food

Visitors can expect to sample dishes infused with flavors from both Li’s childhood in Beijing and as well as that the couple discovered during their travels. The Optimist Hall location will hone in on Southeast Asian favorites from Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, and promises to offer big, bold and funky flavor.

Chef de Cuisine Vann Thomas brings a wealth of experience to the kitchen, having worked at both of Walker’s Charleston concepts, David Chang’s Momofuku in New York, and DUCK DUCK GOAT and Cabra in Chicago.

Thomas will prepare classics such as Okonomiyaki (a Japanese cabbage pancake), Som Tum Chicken (black-bean fried chicken with spicy papaya salad) and Pad Kra Pow (with Thai chili beef, basil rice and a fried egg). Visitors can also order Asian-inspired snacks including fried brussels, LA-style beef rolls, glass Noodle Laap and fried caramel pork Mochi.

“Anyone who has been to Xiao Bao in Charleston already knows how incredible it is, and those who haven’t are about to find out. I’m excited to add yet another ‘go-to’ spot in Optimist’s lineup,” said Jay Levell, Optimist Hall partner.

Look for the 564-square-foot stall next to Boxcar Betty’s and Collier Candy Company.

Xiao Bao

1115 N Brevard St.

Instagram: @xiaobaobiscuit