My first time at BAO was about 8 months ago, I was introduced to it by a long term friend of mine. I remember it was raining cats and dogs and the queue outside was massive. Now, Italians are not very keen when it comes to a queue. It’s just not part our culture. We want it right here, right now.
But the fact that my friend was taking me to a place where she went for dinner the night before was saying it all and thank god I trusted her. Never has queuing been so worth it in my life.
This little gem, the size of my bedroom, dominates unrivaled the scene in Lexington Street, SoHo.
People passing by approach you while you are queuing on the other side of the street hesitant and with curiosity asking “Excuse me, what are you queuing for?”
This other time at BAO I was luckier as my friends and I gained the pole position in the queue. I was kindly asked what I wanted to drink and 2 minutes later I was served a nice chilled Taiwanese beer to make the wait a bit merrier.
The one page menu comes as a tick list, which has to be filled in with your choices and quantities and then handed to the waiting staff. Food comes shortly after. The menu includes a list of 9 Xiao Chin which are small bites and a list of 6 BAO’s which are this pillow soft steamed buns, Taiwanese style. Prices per courses are between £3 and £6 (yes, I did not mistype) which makes you want to just tick off everything (oh you can do that for roughly £70!)
People, treat your taste buds all the way and do not dare to skip the Scallops with yellow bean garlic sauce – TERRIFIC – as well as the Guinea Fowl Chi Shiang Rice – OUTSTANDING.
The BAO’s are purely what dreams are made of: the Classic with braised pork, the Fried Chicken and the Lamb Bao are my top 3 and I swear they will make you feel emotional and in heaven. Finish off with a delicious Fried Horlicks Ice cream BAO, crunchy and creamy to the right point. For those who are charitable, 25p from every classic BAO sold goes to Action Against Hunger.
Oh BAO, you made me love you.
53 Lexington Street