London’s restaurant scene is bursting with moreish fluffy buns, devilishly good ice cream filled options and fusion cuisine options. After all, who doesn’t love a fluffy bite of goodness filled with meat, fish or veggies, slathered in Asian pickles and spices?
Here’s where to go…
If you’re looking to get a quick bao fix, head to one of On the Bab’s vendors for a mouthwatering Korean treat. Enjoy a selection of dishes and feast in true Korean ‘anju’ style, which is the term used for food consumed with alcohol.
Look forward to tucking into the likes of the spicy pork bar with salad; yangyum chicken – Korean style fried chicken coated in a crispy batter and sesame seeds; and their moreish kimchi fried rice.
We found the fluffiest bao in town with these guys.
Daddy Bao has certainly mastered the art of delivering mouth-watering bao each and every time and a personal favourite of ours is the traditional Mr Bao. Think layers of slow braised outdoor reared port, house pickles, roasted peanut and coriander.
It’s worth noting that any herbivores among the group can enjoy them too – all the vegetarian options can be made vegan.
It wouldn’t be a bao guide without including the big boys, BAO. When you’ve named yourself after the food you serve, you’ve got a lot of live up to, and BAO certainly does.
All of their bao buns are handmade with love and passion in their bakery on the first floor of their Fitz venue, using wheat flour to create a pillow-like cloud.
They take inspiration from Taiwanese cooking, a cuisine which takes its own influences from Japan, China, and even Spain and the Netherlands.
If you’re in Peckham, Mr Bao is a must-try for a tasty mid-week treat. You might recognise the menu as it’s actually Daddy Bao’s sister restaurant, serving up the similar quick, easy but delicious bao dishes.
Chow down on the Bao Diddley, filled with 24-hour marinated chicken, fried wasabi, house kimchi and a sprinkling of coriander. Yum.
Serving up the jaw-droppingly good buns every time is Yum Bun. Having started as a street food vendor back in 2010, they’ve been on one big bao adventure ever since. Today they have permanent residences across the capital, including Seven Dials Market and Spitalfields Market.
Expect menu highlights including the chicken bao – Japanese-style fried chicken with pickles, mayo, lettuce and chilli; and Portobello mushroom bao with toasted walnuts, cucumber, spring onions and miso glaze. Bun boxes are also available – which include two buns of your choice, two crispy veg gyoza and crunchy Asian slaw.
At their Seven Dials venue, they also offer steamed dumplings too, perfect for those wanting to add a little something extra to the mix.
Yuu Kitchen opened up back in 2016 by Australian friends Stephen Lowe and Jon de Villa, following their numerous years travelling the world, picking up techniques and processes from all over.
Having been a dream of theirs for years, the restaurant is inspired by the flavours of south-east Asia and the Pacific rim, including a section solely devoted to Filipino cuisine as a nod to Jon’s heritage.
For those with a sweet tooth, their ice cream bao (which is also vegan!) is a must-order.
Flesh & Buns is a Japanese Izakaya (a stay-drink-place) with a difference. Their Berners Street restaurant focuses on Nikkei cuisine which brings Japanese tradition and cooking techniques together with Peruvian ingredients. What you get is fun, flavour packed dishes just waiting to be Instagrammed. Oh, and the best Pisco sours in town.
Cantonese steamed bun specialists Bun House is renowned for its dishes that offer a playful approach to traditional dishes across Southern China. And with its new opening in Canary Wharf, there’s even more of a chance of nabbing a walk-in table.
Order a round of their buns (four for £11), from the veg bun packed with mixed mushroom, water chestnut and kow choi to their sticky BBQ pork belly bun with lardo and yam. As well as steamed wontons, salted lemon wings and squid ink congee.
Fill your boots with BunCo’s brand new menu which takes a global approach to the humble bun, taking inspiration from everywhere from Taiwan to Turkey.
If you’re an early riser, order the breakfast menu which plays host to all the full English treats such as egg and pancetta, egg and sausage, or the extra fancy egg and smoked salmon.
For the sweet-toothed fans, bag yourself a ‘buntella’ filled with lashings of nutty chocolate and fresh strawbs.
From the team behind Mr Bao and Daddy Bao, this venue can be found over at Westfield Shopping Centre. Here they serve up house favourites from their sister restaurants, from beef brisket bao to shiitake mushroom bao; chicken dumplings to fried rice and udon noodles cooked in the wok. The perfect stop off while you’re whisking around the shopping centre.