The Critic has had the Wah Bao restaurant and its chef Roberto Ricalde on the to-eat-at list since hearing about the deliciousness delicacy now available in Merida and also because, well, Roberto is just a really nice guy. Now employed at the Palace Resorts and Massimo Bottura’s Reffetorio downtown, where he creates culinary miracles for Merida’s less fortunate, he dislikes not being busy and so also runs his pet project Wah Bao in northern Merida.
Arriving at 6-ish, the Critic found the place pleasantly free of crowds with just a couple of tables occupied by happy eaters and folks waiting for to-go orders. The tables are all outside making it ideal for dinner during an airborne virus-driven pandemic.
After receiving a complimentary frozen “amuse-bouche” or palate cleanser of a citrusy variety, food was ordered, for one. Too much food it turned out as portions are generous. The Peking duck bao was amazing, with delicious duck and strips of something caramelized. This was followed by a very large bowl of Shoyu ramen featuring everyone’s favorite cardiac arrest go-to: pork belly. The broth was the most intense and amazingly satisfying part of this experience for the Critic who is a fan of all things caldo. Do sip and slurp until you finish, skipping some of the other ingredients if absolutely necessary. But you will want to make sure to get ALL of the broth.
Finally, the most delectable dessert bao, fried with sugar on top (can’t go wrong there) stuffed with cinnamon and tender apple (getting even more irresistible) and finished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream over some dulce de leche. Unbelievable. The presentation is exquisite.
The Critic’s bill came to $350 approx. with a glass of homemade jamaica to wash it all down. Worth coming back for? Absolutely! Supremely enjoyable and fresh, new, inventive and different.
Look them up on Facebook for hours and days of operation. Menu below.