Tigers – the largest species of cat in the world, fantastic beasts.
Pigs – the most pig-like species of cat in the world, delicious beasts.
Now: imagine a tiger’s mouth made of dough, STAY WITH ME, imagine inside that doughy, cat gob is a piece of pork. Congratulations, you’ve just imagined a tiger biting a pig. It all becomes clear. Don’t blame me, blame the Taiwanese.
There, I’ve explained the name of Birmingham’s new bao joint (Birmingham’s baoby perhaps) for you, you’re welcome.
Bao in Birmingham
A while back another bao place opened and sadly it wasn’t very good, and it made me sad. It made me sad because the bun was yellow, thin and a bit hard. They should be bright white, pillowy and make me hard.
I bloody love bao, so much so I did a bao cooking class, then went to a Chinese supermarket – bought all the stuff to make it, and promptly put all the stuff in a kitchen cupboard where it’s lived ever since.
The good news is that I don’t have to worry about making it now, as finally there is somewhere in Birmingham doing it right.
I ordered one of each bao on offer: pork, beef, duck and chicken – crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
The first out were the chicken / ginger and spring onion / chilli oil / crispy chicken skin and the pork belly / pickled greens / coriander / peanuts. Both were excellent and gave me the exact kind of bao I like: sweetness of the bun, good meat, something crunchy and a spice or pickle to contrast with the sweetness.
The smoked duck breast / spinach / xo sauce and braised beef shin / shiitake mushrooms / cured egg yolk were also both delicious – but only dropped a point for a lack of crunch (I’m well aware this might just be me). A shoutout for the cured egg yolk which gave the beef one an incredible richness.
Delighted that I’d found somewhere doing great bao, I ordered another pint of Asahi and another pork one before heading for the absolute fuckery of the trains at nearby New Street.