Or Baozi, a Chinese classic that has taken the [Western] food world by storm.
What is Bao?
Lightly put, a Bao is a steamed pillowy bread roll made of yeast, flour, milk and a few other goodies. It has a soft comforting texture that is usually filled with delicious, beautifully marinated meat, usually pork.
A bit more about the evening…
I was invited to the Bao Bar at Cha Chaan Teng, a trendy Chinese restaurant situated in the heart of Holborn. Hidden basement level, it’s playful, yet upmarket feel makes it a great spot to hang with friends. As you descend down the stair into the 1950’s inspired restaurant you instantly observe the cultural mesh of the Far East meets West.
What makes Cha Chaan Teng different?
Their ‘BAO BAR’ a menu dedicated to Bao burgers and sliders. Menu here
Unlike traditional burger buns, bao’s enable you to appreciate the flavours of the filling, it’s light and pillowy textures is satisfying and doesn’t make you feel uncomfortably full (depends on how many you can eat).
How did it go?
The Bao masterclass was hosted by Chef Jeremy Pang from School of Wok (Chinese Cookery School in Holborn) who demonstrated to a small group of us on how to make the perfect Bao before we settled down to make our own.
I found it tricky at first but like everyone else after a few tries, we mastered (sort of) the technique on how to make these cloud-like buns before filling it will coca-cola glazed pork and a few other choices of fillings, like braised short rib.
We made slider buns…
I’ll be sharing my version to this as Jeremy was kind enough to share with us the recipe for the buns.
Things I learned about Bao (And Cha Chaan Teng)…
Cha Chaan Teng means “Tea Restaurant”
Historically, Cha Chaan Tengs, were bustling, fast-paced café’s in Hong Kong’s burgeoning lower middle-class areas where they served their take on ‘westernised’ cooking for locals as the traditional ‘western’ dishes were reserved only for the middle and upper-middle class.
Bao buns are usually bleached in order to get that beautiful pristine white color, however, such flours are banned from the UK, due to health reasons.
Humidity affects the texture of the dough so the more humid the environment the less water is needed.
Why you should give it a try
The Bao’s were impressive and if you love Chinese food [And Dumplings] then you won’t be disappointed. Not only do you have the Bao Bar, where you can choose an assortments of fillings and burger sliders, you can also opt for your favourite Chinese meals from their menu, like beef in Black bean sauce, rice, prawn crackers and many more.
Happy Hour Cocktails – From 5-8pm every day, for £5.
I enjoyed their signature Cha Chaan Teng Spritz – Rhubarb, Campari, passion fruit, sparkling wine – so refreshing!
*I’ve added this to my roster of places to hang with friends for lunch and after work socials.
Find out more at – Cha Chaan Teng
What would be your perfect Bao? Mine is spicy pork or maybe hoisin duck! Share with me below 🙂 xoxo