Bao in London – is it worth the long queue?

Absolutely not, especially if I come back from a year of hiatus from food writing to write about how crappy most of their food is.

After reading rave reviews of this place which was listed as one of the best restaurants in London last year, I thought the wait would be worth it tonight, especially because I didn’t want to leave the queue again like last year due to its long wait. I waited for more than an hour in freezing weather to get a table tonight so I was hoping the food would blow my mind, but I was disappointed. This restaurant is just a fad, just like bubble tea when it was introduced to England a few years ago.

Although their desserts and peanut milk were good, the savory small eats were overly salty. I am also ashamed this Taiwanese restaurant could not even get the most basic Taiwanese dish, popcorn chicken right. Their popcorn chicken is actually Japanese Katsu, and way too salty. This dish was £5 (which I got half off because I returned the dish), a lot more than what other established London Taiwanese restaurants charge and I expected this to be better than their competitors, but it was not. As you can see below, my food bill was £50, and that was for two people. I was not even full. For this price, I could eat till I am full with a party of three-four people in other Taiwanese restaurants in London.

Effing Bao

I have tried four different Taiwanese “small eats” restaurants in London, and this is the worst in terms of authenticity, taste and value for money. You can judge how good a Taiwanese restaurant is by their popcorn chicken, and this Taiwanese restaurant would not survive past a few months if they were in California and especially Taiwan. Their specialty is bao (bun) which is a typical Taiwanese breakfast, and I found it a bit too bland and nothing like the bao’s I had in Taiwan which are rich in flavor without any condiment.

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