The First Look At New Pixar Short ‘Bao’ Has Awakened Our Dumpling Cravings

There is a monster inside my stomach and it relentlessly craves dumplings, please gimme now.

I maintain that dumplings are an appropriate meal choice for literally all times of the day: breakfast, 2am, hot, cold, fried, boiled, steamed, whatever, they’re delicious.

So it is entirely relevant to the world’s (my) interests that Pixar‘s latest short – to feature ahead of Incredibles 2 later this year – focuses on these cooked pockets of dough filled with meat/veg/joy. The seven-and-a-half-minute short Bao tells the story of a Chinese-Canadian mother/empty nester who finds renewed purpose when one of her handmade dumplings comes to life.

The short follows in the footsteps of Lava (before Inside Out), For The Birds (Monsters Inc), and so on – literally from A Bug’s Life on, all the Pixar movies have been accompanied by a delightful short.

Bao‘s been lovingly assembled by Domee Shi, Pixar’s first female short director ever. She told Entertainment Weekly, she was inspired by her own childhood, as the only child of Chinese immigrants:

Often times it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff… I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.

She said she received tons of “emails from people identifying with the mum character, or the dumpling character, saying, ‘Wait, that’s me,’ or ‘That’s my parents,’ or ‘I’m dealing with this right now’”.

Shi’s mother, Ningsha Zhong, actually consulted on the project, giving the crew close-up, hands-on dumpling demos.

Our technical directors and special effects team put the camera super close to her hands and recorded every single little detail of how she folded the dough, how she cut each piece, how she rolled each wrapper into that perfect little bun shape. We [basically] recreated those shots with her hands and used them as the reference for animation.

But it wasn’t all work and no munch for the crew – they did their research:

We did a lot of ‘research’ and ate so many buns, and as soon as I felt like I couldn’t eat another dumpling, I would go to a Bao review, watch a shot of the dumplings being made, and be like, ‘Oh my God… I’m hungry again.’

The internet is hungry for this short/these feels:

Excuse me, I have some dumpling ‘research’ to do: