Bao is the new way to sandwich. Over the past few years, these little Taiwanese buns have been taking the world by storm. Now, finally, they have made their way to Manchester.
I recently found out that there are now, finally, 4 different places in Manchester that make steam & sell Bao’s. So, I made it my personal mission to seek them out, try as many as I can & see which is the best. (not a bad way to spend a weekend!)
The bun is a white, steamed dough, which can be formed into a bun or a flatbread. Originating from Taiwan and made famous by places like Baohaus in New York. They are now finally something you can enjoy in your own city. (this is 2017 after all).
They may not be the first thing you would think of on a wet & windy winter day in Manchester, but I can promise you, that a Bao will definitely make your day better! (ok, that might not really be true. But they are cheap & taste amazing, so give them a try anyway!)
First on my list was Taberu.
A new Bao bar which is basically like Subway for Bao. You pick your meat / cheese filling, 3 vegetables & a sauce. This new little café on King Street, has become one of the favourite new places for people to pick up a quick lunch.
After trying both the Pork & Duck (Spring onions, spinach & daikon sides) I can tell you that if you on this side of town & fancy something new for dinner, this would be a great place to stop. These are defineitly the largest I’ve tried and well worth the £5.95.
Next up is, Shoryu.
This Japanese restaurant, next to Piccadilly Gardens, is my ‘go-to’ Ramen place. But they also have a section of the menu, just for Bao. So, on a few of my visits I’ve tried 3 of their buns & they are amazing. They are small, refined, light and tasty. Another great thing about Shoryu Bao, is that on Mondays they are buy one, get one free when ordered with a bowl or Ramen.
I even tried the Wagu beef Bao, which if you fancy something a bit posh & delicious, is well worth a try! These are probably the most refined Bao you will find in Manchester & they taste amazing.
A recent newcomer to the list is Baohouse.
With a name like Baohouse & being the most expensive option in Manchester, I had very high expectations! The name is a play on the Manhattan Bao restaurant, Baohaus, which is largely credited as the main reason that Bao has become so mainstream & become the new foodie trend. This little Bao bar inside Manchester’s newest foodie hotspot, appeared on the scene last month. These impressive baos are available everyday, except Mondays, after 12pm everyday.
I opted for a classic fried chicken with pickle & hot sauce. I’m happy that Baohouse does not disappoint! The chicken is delicious & the hot sauce is not for the faint hearted!
My only criticism, would probably be the size. Although large Baos are tasty, I do prefer the smaller & more bite size buns. I’d definitely prefer two little Bao, to one large one!
Last but not least, is The Fusion Lab!
This little market stall in the Arndale Market hall, might not look as posh, bit it has become the place for foodies in the city centre.
Both are meant to be a fusion of western foods (burger, pulled pork halloumi fries) mixed with eastern flavours. One of their current successes are their buns. If you follow The Fusion Lab on Instagram, you will know that their Bao’s currently sell out on a daily basis. After finally getting around to trying them, I can see why. I tried the KFC Bao, which tastes amazing! With the fresh salad, light bun & delicious sauces these are definitely my favourite Bao buns in Manchester. You also get two smaller buns as a portion, so the dough isn’t too stodgy.
If you want to try Bao for the first time, I would probably suggest here. Their blend of eastern and western flavours, is a great way for an un-adventurous northern to get into new foods. So get yourself some Bao this week & bring some warmth to a cold day in Manchester!