Joshua Walker and Duolan Li have been teasing us with their Xiao Bao Biscuit pop-up dinners over the last few months. The couple has been sharing their love of Asian fare at sporadic events that seem to sell out faster than a Pecha Kucha party. Lucky for us, they're working on a permanent space in Cannonborough where they can serve Asian comfort food on a daily basis.
Xiao Bao Biscuit (sē ou/bau/biskit) is the product of many experiences, including the marriage of Walker, a native South Carolinian, and Li, whose ethnicity is Mongolian. The two lived in New York and worked in the restaurant industry before getting married and traveling across Asia.
"After that we moved back to Charleston," says Josh. "All the different foods we're cooking we've had traveling through Asia. They're more accessible in places like New York, but they didn't exist in Charleston marketplace."
Josh says they expect their customers to decide what XBB's signature dish will be. "Other people determine that more than you do, but what we really want to do is provide a curated selection of all our favorite foods, bringing food from other parts of the world and putting them in one setting. It makes sense for us."
XBB will be all about affordable, approachable Asian comfort food: noodles, dumplings, soups, and the like. "Some restaurants that have opened are doing this," acknowledges Josh, "but there's still going to be a lot of unique things that don't exist in any one place right now."
The couple has found an old gas station at the corner of Spring Street and Rutledge, which they will be transforming into their permanent restaurant space. To that end, they are working with architect Whitney Powers of Studio A. "We're lucky, the bones of the space are really good," says Josh. "We're trying to do as little as possible and still make the space comfortable but keep that vibe that it has."
They are in the midst of applying for permits and hope to be open sometime in October.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for their pop-up dinners. They have a Korean supper and another dinner at GrowFood planned for July. Sign up for their email newsletter on their website.