Dumplings are common to many cuisines throughout the world; in Taiwan these bah-tzang are traditional. Wrapped in aromatic bamboo leaves, there’s something magical about unwrapping these perfectly cooked parcels of pork, shrimp and mushroom at the table
Frank Yeung’s classic bah-tzang noodles
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Frank Yeung came to own a couple of Taiwanese bao joints in south London (Mr Bao in Peckham and Daddy Bao in Tooting) via his restaurateur father, Joe (the Daddy of Daddy Bao), a career at Goldman Sachs and a burrito business. Taiwanese cooking is a mixture of Chinese, Japanese and indigenous recipes and ingredients, and bao are soft, steamed white buns with a light, pillowy texture, popularly eaten with a pork filling. Frank says, ‘I think Taiwanese cuisine is still very much rising in popularity throughout the country and there are a whole host of interesting dishes and ingredients to talk about.’
Frank grew up in the UK but has travelled extensively throughout Asia and his first Taiwanese venture, Mr Bao, is a homage to the country. The kitchen equipment, ingredients, crockery, decor and teas have all been carefully sourced, and then local ingredients are added to make the most of what’s on offer nearby. Bao are the mainstay at both venues, lightly fluffy and packed with different fillings, plus a few more different nibbles and, at the weekend, Taiwanese brunch dishes.
Frank’s father is involved in recipe development and dispenses advice to his son, including how to make these classic bah-tzang dumplings, which have iconic status in Taiwan.
These aren’t simple, more a labour of love, and they require a certain deftness with kitchen string for wrangling them into shape. You will, however, feel mightily pleased with yourself once you’ve made a batch. Shapes vary between samosa, tamale and even tetrahedrons, but we’ve made them more triangular so they are easier to wrap and tie. mrbao.co.uk