If you've got a hankering for a quick bite, but you're looking for something a little more bougie than dollar pizza or Chipotle (again), hit up one of these three new spots serving up unique interpretations on classic bao.

These eateries are influenced by a variety of cuisines, offering gua bao (typically braised pork served between a flat, steamed lotus bun) and baked bao, and are great new additions to the competitive market of NYC buns. We're all a-BAO-t it.

Lauren's Chicken  

Katie Sun

160 East 23rd St.

Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00AM- 10:30PM | Saturdays 12:00PM- 10:00PM

Lauren’s Chicken offers 4 buns, the Bulgogi Korean BBQ Beef Bun ($4.00), the Volcano BBQ Chicken Bun ($3.50), the Shrimp Bun ($4.00), and a specialty Lauren’s Chicken Bun ($3.50).

The star of the menu is the classic bun, featuring an impressively generous helping of glossy, juicy BBQ chicken, and topped with pickled onions, a zesty coleslaw, crispy shallots, cilantro, and the specialty house sauce. The Shrimp Bun, stuffed with crispy, red honey garlic shrimp, is another highlight of the menu, with a carefully crafted balance of acid, heat, salt and fat. Not only are all the buns successful twists on classic favorites, but the portions are also plentiful, and are a great value, at $3.50-$4 for a large lotus bun.

Katie Sun

Pictured: Crispy Red Honey Garlic Shrimp Bun (top), Volcano BBQ Chicken Bun (bottom)

The Dumpling Shop

Cecilia Chen

124 2nd Ave

New York, NY 10003

Hours: Sun-Thurs 12:00 PM- 11:00 PM | Fri- Sat 12:00PM- 1:00AM

A small, hole-in the wall dumpling shop with only three tables and a counter, The Dumpling Shop specializes in small-batch Asian bites. The Braised Pork Belly Bun (2 pieces, $8.50) features 6-hour slow braised pork belly, and is topped with arugula, sliced cornichon, cilantro and sriracha mayo. The pork is made with an old family recipe; tender and rich without being greasy, it is the clear star of the bun. Open until 1 AM on Friday and Saturday, The Dumpling Shop is perfect for late night cravings if you’re in the vicinity of St. Marks and are looking for something a little fancier than fries, or if the lines at Boka and Two Bros are just too long.

Katie Sun

Pictured: Braised Pork Belly Bu

BÀO Tea House

Katie Sun

140 West 4th Street

Hours: Mon-Thurs 10:30AM- 9:00PM | Fri-Sun 10:30AM- 9:30PM

BAO Tea House serves up both steamed buns and baked bao in savory and sweet flavors. The fried chicken steamed bun (2 for $5.45) is filled with crispy chicken, homemade chili sauce, and mayo. The classic baked bao (2 for $5.50) has a slightly sweet pork and homemade barbecue sauce filling. Other popular menu items include the chicken bao (baked, with a spicy roasted chicken and buffalo sauce filling) and the egg bao (baked, with a runny salted egg yolk and water-chestnut filling), at just $5.50 for two bao. 

Katie Sun

Pictured: [top to bottom] Egg Bao, Matcha Bun with red bean filling; Lava Bun with custard and coconut milk filling