A few weeks ago, I’d never even heard of a bao bun, then I got invited to make some! Little Bao Boy at Aiyo in Hyde Park, somewhere in Leeds I would never think to look for food, showed me how to make bao buns and what to fill them with! If like me, you have no idea what I’m talking about, baos are Chinese steamed bread rolls.
Little Bao Boy
You may have seen the Little Bao Boy pop up restaurant on the street food scene in the North of England. Little Bao Boy saw the need for more plant-powered Asian eateries in Leeds, which led to them collaborating with a former owner of Boss Burgers to bring Aiyo to Leeds’ buzzing Hyde Park. Deriving from an informal Chinese exclamation, the word Aiyo refers to enjoyment or excitement and staying true to this ethos, Little Bao Boy’s new restaurant puts a contemporary twist on Grandma’s old recipes; experimenting with the home-cooked family meals that Little Bao Boy owner, James Ooi, grew up eating.
Time for food!
Settling in with some Oolong tea, we were soon in the kitchen ready to make our buns! To save time, the dough was already made, so we had to cut it precisely and shape it ready for steaming.
We were all so proud when they turned out perfectly, but I think that might have more to do with the amazing chef, James, than our tasks!
Once the buns were out, we were given loads of new vegan dishes to try. I’m not vegan, but like the idea of cutting down meat and love trying new things, so always love a chance to try new dishes. The street food menu is small, but certainly not limited. There was so much to try and we only had the vegan dishes, there are meat dishes too.
The new vegan dishes on the menu that we tried were:
- Shiitake mushroom spring roll with sweet chilli sauce
- Tofu fried in rice flour
- Sichuanese aubergines – baby aubergines with Sichuan marinade, chillies – pretty spicy!
- Cauliflower Satay – roasted cauliflower, coriander, spring onion, chilli, ginger and satay sauce