BAO BUNS LEICESTER: Since we tried their Christmas menu, the Zion Community Kitchen has been going from strength to strength. In these dark times while we remain in full lockdown (as we have been for nearly four months now) having beautiful food delivered to your door is now a key part of maintaining your mental health in my opinion. Sustenance is one thing, but sometimes you need a abit of next level, right?
Cooking out of the Bridle Lane Tavern, which I am incredibly excited to see under new ownership, they askd their social media followers this week if they’d prefer bao or burgers. Bao won this epic battle and lucky us, they offered to send some our way. Now I was pretty excited to give Bam Bam her first Bao Buns. They offer really different flavours to anything she’s had before.
Remember when very few of us knew the word bao and we just called them steamed buns, like the epic salmon offering at the Rutland and Derby? Aww, we were so off trend back then. Now we are all over it and love the little critters. I had my first Baozi on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. What a thing. The Zion Community Kitchen bao did not disappoint my high expectations. They could even have surpassed that delightful char siu bao experience with their Bao Named Siu.
This homemade char siu pulled pork is marinaded and slow cooked in a homemade glaze. This gives a deep sweet and spicy barbecue flavour. Served with house pickled vegetables, delicious kimchi and a perfectly made pillowy soft steamed bun, this an absolute delight to eat. However it is hands on, get stuck in, no holds barred food. The pork is moist and delicious and will dribble temptingly down your chin. The spice was at the absolute perfect level for me – just the right amount of heat to be pleasant but still with an abundance and real depth of flavour.
It was a similar story with the Triple C. Crispy Chilli Chicken and sweet goodness, the fried chicken was easily the highlight of the entire menu (and this meal was GOOD). This was also served with house pickles so the mix of texture, sweet and sour was just perfect. Absolutely could eat that crispy fried chicken by the bucketload. Sinful.
Peanut Noodle Salad
The Zion Community Kitchen menu gives you two very generously portioned, generously filled bao buns with a portion of chips for £9.95. This is excellent value and really will fill you right up. However, if you are feeling like a reet pig (and as I said at the beginning, this is for our mental health, so it is totally reasonable if you want to treat yourself) then there are a selection of sides available. We had the peanut noodle salad which was full of calming fresh flavours – a beautiful counterpoint to the sweet, sour and spicy vibrancy of the bao. There were lots of beautiful julienne vegetables, a little mint and lime and a good sprinkling of peanut over the noodles. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
And of course The Boy was pleased to fuel his chicken wings obsession with the ‘mango bomb’ wings. There were a little pink in the centre which he always finds a little off putting, but he enjoyed the crispy, sticky and sweet wings nonetheless.
Baby’s First Bao
I feel like we could start a new blog feature with how Bam Bam enjoys a new food. She was really into the bao, although the little bit of kimchi and pulled pork she tried were obviously a bit spicy for her. She is still getting to grips with chilli heat. These bao also contained the longest food she has ever had to deal with. Our Bam Bam loves a bean sprout though! The julienne of vegetables and some of the pickles were incredibly long. I would never have noticed if I didn’t have to feed them to the baby. She did struggle and I had to pull stuff into smaller pieces for her. But she adored the bao bun itself. And the noodle salad was a real treat for her she wolfed her portion down. Good Bam Bam.
We were sent this food for the purposes of review, this is my honest opinion of what we tried.