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Bao Bun Making at Aiyo with Little Bao Boy

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.

Aiyo uses locally sourced ingredients and serves fresh and healthy food that caters for all, freshly making the bars every day!
The interior is a feature in itself, with Aiyo’s walls covered in hand-painted murals by local artist, Mike Winnard.

 

Time for food!

You've got buns, hun! Click To Tweet

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
We filled the baos with all the tasty vegan dishes, which are stand alone dishes too, with salt & pepper fries and some garnishes too. There was also vegan peanut butter bao with peanut filling, dark chocolate and hazelnut dressing for dessert. I didn’t try dessert as don’t eat peanuts, but I have it on very good authority that these were amazing too.

 

 

We went away with a new recipe by James, and our own Chinese flour to try and make our own at home! I’m yet to try this, but definitely will soon, I’ll post the results on Instagram!
A trip to Aiyo is not just a meal out, but an experience. The perfect place for a pit stop, with some great surrounding bars. Plus, Aiyo does takeaways and is available on Deliveroo! I wish I lived nearer!
I will definitely be back in Hyde Park soon for some food and drinks, plus it’s near Hyde Park cinema, so you can really make a night of it.
Have you ever tried bao buns? Are you looking for more vegan options or would you like to try some?
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