Momo Baohaus, Greenside

Our Uber driver, Thabo, pics us up outside of Soweto Towers and we start heading across the city again towards Greenside, zagging back in the direction we zigged from. Thabo is another funny, all smiles African dude, like Gift, energetic and interested. He asks what we’re doing here and we tell him we’ve rented a safari truck and are gonna drive it through Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. “Wow! Brace yourselves for the longest drive ever. Better fill up that cooler box!” he looks back at us from the rearview mirror, smiling.

“Here’s the largest hospital in the Southern Hemisphere”, he points to a massive medplex, “On your drive to Cape Town you should go to Lesotho. Highest pub in the world. Clarence is beautiful on the way.”

We tell Thabo about just coming from Dubai and going into the Burj Khalifa, and about how much money is getting dropped on that city. “Oils gonna run out at some point though isn’t it?”, “Not until we royally fuck up this planet!”, we’re all roaring on this one.

Thabo points to the right and says that Ponte Tower is just over that way. It used to be a masterpiece but now it’s a mess, there were lots of gangs and violence. “Now all these Nigerians came in and messed it up. Johannesburg is huge. The pace is fast, you know? Either you eat or be eaten”

He gives us some more tips about the drive across SA. He says he’s driven to Cape Town a few times, “You pass through beautiful mountains on the way. And then you can see Table Mountain for miles going into the city. Take the Garden Route. Ahhh wish I was you”, “Just keep driving”, “Hahah yes, we’ll just keep going”, “Yeah, Uber to Cape Town, please”, “Then we’ll go on safari, you’ll never see your wife and kid again”, “They’ll understand” and we’re laughing it up in the back, Thabo finds it so funny he’s pounding on the roof.

“Cape flats. Avoid that place. It’s something else man, it’s something else. Don’t go there. Went with my wife one time, we’ll never go back.” Thabo gets a little silent here, there’s definitely a story but we don’t press it. Guess we’ll be avoiding Cape Flats then.

Soon he’s back to thinking about our road trip and the silence breaks. He’s almost more excited about the SASS than we are, “Ohh the meats you’ll get. Biltong. Kudu and Springbok. You must try them!”

We arrive in Greenside and dip out of the car, wishing Thabo a great day along the way. Super nice guy, he wishes us a wonderful trip. Joburg hospitality continues to shine.

We’re on the main drag in Greenside. Seems like a nice area with some good looking bars, restaurants and well kept store fronts.

Time to find the place Waldo recommended. I pull out the little note he made us earlier, Momo Baohaus? It’s right in front of us, sweet.

It’s a trendy steamed bun place with more employees than patrons currently. We take a seat and a girl comes over. She has a flirty twinkle in her smile and eyes, probably instantly identifying that we’re not from around here. She smoothly drops menus on the table and says, “I’ll be right back.”

Oh yeah, this looks great.

This reminds me that Queenie and I were talking about creating a fusion steamed bun place that puts food from Mexican dishes inside the buns. We were going to call it Taco Bao.

Queenie’s sister is also named Bao and we nicknamed her #GreenBao since she’s on a life mission to make airlines more environmentally friendly. I snap a pic of the menu, highlight Greenway Bao, and send it to her.

The flirty waitress comes back over to see what we’d like. “Ahhh… two and two?”, she’s not having it haha, “No, no, no, no, no, are you famished? No. One each. They are big. Not full? Get more.” The accent here is fantastic. We put in the Chairman Bao and Lucky Bao.

Feisty brings the buns out in a woven wooden basket. We open it up and they look and smell incredible. She gives us chopsticks and a whimsical look like, “Go on, try to eat that thing with chopsticks”

 

Oh man, these are awesome. We try to manage them with just chopsticks while Feisty and a host of other employees giggle behind us. There are some nice oils and hot sauces to slam on them too. Killer suggestion, these bao are the bees knees. So good we should probably get another one.

Fiesty comes back over, “One more?”, “Yep”, “You see. I’m selling the whooooole thing”, “Oh yeah, you’re good”, “You’re supposed to say I nailed it”, Peter and I in unison, “Naaaaaaaaaaaailed it!” We order up another one. “And the bill too please”, “Bill? What’s that?”, she’s teasing, they must have another word for it, “Well unless it’s freeeee, we’re gonna need…”, “A bill? got it” she winks.

Two more knock outs

 

Peter is eyeing up the bill, converting rand to USD. “You putting it on your card?”, “Yeah”, “We’ll have to look at your statement and split it up”, “Well I owe you for the truck rental”, “Oh right. Yeah, I could probably not pay for another thing this whole trip actually.”

We scarf the bao and settle up. Feisty drops by to chat, “You guys not from here?”, “I’m Canadian and he’s a Brit”, “Aaaahh, two different accents”, “Three here now”, “Riiiight, you like it? How long?”, “Two days here then off to Cape Town. Namibia, Botswana, Zambia after that. We’ll see how far we get”, “Oh how fun! Well come by before you go”, Peter and I exchange an arched eyebrow glance, “Cheers”

We leave Momo Baohaus and finally decide to take care of our no rand situation. There’s a covered ATM near by and we both hit it up for a few hunny, see how far that goes.

Next stop is the market next door. We polished off a few whiskey bottles last night, should probably replace one. With the exchange rate, the prices are decent. We rand up on a bottle of Monkey Shoulder, a good go to blended scotch whiskey. 

We walk up and down the streets of Greenside, getting a better feel for the place. Not a long strip, just a couple of blocks really. It’s nice, good spot for a drink and a bite. Now just a short hop back to Waldo’s place in Randburg. Maybe we can get another hours sleep in before the art function at the Turbine building with Waldo and Megan’s friends tonight.

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