cover image Bao: The Cookbook

Bao: The Cookbook

Erchen Chang, Shing Tat Chung, and Wai Ting Chung. Phaidon, $29.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-83866-620-0

The stylish and appetizing debut from the creative minds behind London’s Bao restaurants is part cookbook and part manifesto. Each chapter centers on a different Bao location, detailing the inspiration behind the restaurant and offering insight into the chefs’ upbringings in Taiwan and London. The result is an engaging mix of food and culture, enhanced by concept artwork from Chang and a host of tantalizing photos. Dishes are wide-ranging and include sweet potato chips with pickled plum ketchup from the flagship Soho location, half-roasted chili chicken with aged white soy in the bar-style Bao Fitz, glazed tofu and Taiwanese pickles at the grill house Bao Borough, fried prawn rolls from the Taiwanese café Bao King’s Cross, and Kelp soup noodles with aubergine tempura at Bao Noodle Shop. The authors also showcase myriad varieties of bao, the steamed buns that give the restaurants their name. Unctuous braised or confit pork belly, black cod, short ribs, fried chicken, and even ice cream become drool-worthy bao fillings. A tasty array of drinks round things out. This impressive outing perfectly encapsulates Bao’s ethos. (Mar.)