If you’re in a city with an open mind, gua bao – moreish Taiwanese steamed bread rolls (chewy on the outside, light on the inside) – are usually fairly easy to find. Small and stuffed with delicious treats such as braised pork or fried chicken, they are the perfect example of “street food” – a rather popular concept nowadays, we hear, and a means for many would-be restauranteurs to perfect their craft before expanding.
This is a concept familiar to London’s Bao restaurant – considered by many critics and chefs to serve the best, er, bao outside of Taiwan. Founded on a Hackney street market in 2013 by Ms Erchen Chang, Mr Shing Tat Chung and Ms Wai Ting Chung (all, annoyingly, still in their late twenties and early thirties), it was snapped up by restaurateur Mr Karam Sethi – an almost mythical figure in the city’s food circles thanks to his flawless “casual fine dining” portfolio of Bubbledogs, Lyle’s, and Gymkhana. He brought Bao to the masses via a more permanent base in Soho’s foodie square mile (where, thankfully, people are used to queuing street-food style). On 7 July, Bao will open its third outpost in Fitzrovia, Windmill Street – where you may already find the start of a patient line of hungry customers.