Just over a month ago, I heard about bao london from a few food bloggers but none have supposedly tried it. After numerous google searches and twitter follows, I managed to track their next few street food appearances and headed down to Kerb one Thursday afternoon in search of 包.
What exactly is 包 = bao? In mandarin, Bao is a steamed and filled bun. The texture is ‘pillow-y’ or even ‘fluffy’. There are many types of 包 bao which I have had, having grown up in Singapore. We always have 包bao as our tea time snack or even a breakfast item. One of the most common 包 bao which most people have come across is most likely char siew bun i.e. the barbeque pork bun.
What Bao London serves and specialises in is their gua bao 刈包. Gua Bao is a traditional taiwanese street food snack which comprise of slow braised pork belly, home pickled vegetables, coriander and peanut powder (which they grate themselves!!!). Having queued and tried one of these little babies, I commend them for bringing their bao to London.
My heart did a flip when I bit into the soft milk bun. The juices and tenderness of the braised pork belly together with the slight saltiness of the home pickles and dryness of the peanut powder in the tender milk bun calls for a standing ovation. I loved every bite of the 刈包 gua bao. It was that good. My only criticism was the size of bun and the overflowing juices of the braised pork belly which made the bao soggy real fast.
I also tried their pomelo crunch salad and soya milk fried chicken which they fry only upon orders. The soya milk fried chicken was tender and juicy in contrast to the crispy coating which I enjoyed with some chilli sauce on offer.
As for the pomelo crunch salad, it was a nice end to the flavoursome bun and chicken. I liked the subtleness of the vegetable salad tossed with some crunchy fried pastry and pomelo which added some acidity and a little bit of sour/bitterness to it all.
Also check out the Skinny Bib’s review of bao, yum bun and A Wong.
Dishpiglets’ rating: 9.5/10
*On a side note, I love the design of Bao London, from the stall to the paper bag as well as their ‘anatomy of the bun’ info board. It’s just so aesthetically pleasing.