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Take a bao: The best buns in London

Your guide to the best steamed buns in the city



With four locations in London, Bao is one of the best known Taiwanese eateries in the city. Its small menu has been perfectly honed, and the five bao (steamed bun) options marry classic Asian flavours with innovative ideas. Try the confit pork or Daikon bao with Taiwanese fried chicken and sweet potato chips. The cosy restaurant operates on a walk-in only basis but the queue is never a problem as the Bao bus stop across the road (in Soho) keeps everyone in check. Bao is a treat for any day, keeping you warm in the winter and refreshed in the summer.

Buns and Buns

This little restaurant in the middle of Covent Garden market matches its picturesque surroundings with marble topped tables and lobsters on ice. Buns and Buns is the perfect example of fusion food, mixing steamed buns with pizza, rotisserie chicken and seafood. And while the menu might seem an odd amalgamation, each dish is done so well that they actually complement each other. Try the truffle and wild mushroom buns and the lobster brioche roll for a variety of delicious flavours. The pao de queijo basket (cheesy rolls) is also a must, but be warned, they are criminally moreish, so go hungry!

Beer and Buns

Tucked away behind Broadgate Circle is the respectable looking K10 Japanese canteen. But upstairs you will find Beer and Buns — a raucous party atmosphere with sake shots and amazing food. The restaurant/bar was born out of a frustration of not being able to find great Japanese food and great beer in the same place. Well, frustration be gone, because this is our new favourite weeknight hangout. The food is delicious and authentic and the beer selection is more than impressive. Try the Bulgogi beef bun, the edamame spring roll and the Hitachino Nest Dai Dai.

Yum Bun

In four locations in food markets across east London, Yum Bun serves up some of the most delicious steamed buns we’ve ever had. The flavours are incredible and the buns are a great size – big. The mushroom with toasted walnuts, cucumber, spring onions and miso glaze is our favourite, but try the dumplings too, which are also generously sized and utterly delectable. And never before have we tried an ice cream bun, but we are converts. The apple with vanilla ice cream, brambly apple sauce, miso caramel and walnut brittle is ridiculous and will keep you coming back again and again.

On the Bab

This Korean street food hideaway is unassuming on the outside but a hub of flavour and activity once you get inside. The cute and cosy restaurants, one in Soho, one in Covent Garden, are inviting and friendly. And the food is something else. Our favourite thing on the menu is of course the buns, but everything on offer is so fresh and expertly made. The fried chicken or mushroom fritter buns are delicious and perfect for mixing and matching. There are plenty of small dishes – try the Bab Twigim, kimchi and cheese arancini with Koba sauce, or the octopus and prawn salad. This is the perfect place to grab a quick bite or to enjoy a leisurely lunch while sampling a bit of everything.