Xu is a look all over Taiwan from the team behind Bao
Food is a great intermediary, opening the doors for conversation, cultural exchange and understanding. All grand notions but it’s a truth that getting to know a cuisine is like getting to know a country and its people and Bao has certainly achieved that for Taiwanese culture in London.
But Bao focused on the steamed bun, merely one part of the island’s food and new opening Xu is set to remedy that by introducing a whole host of other Taiwanese delights.
Bao, as one sloppy journalist wrote, has put Taiwanese food “on the map”. Well, it was already on the map, to be fair, mostly in Taiwan, but we know what this scribe means: Bao has made an impact where no others have.
It is an intriguing team of woman (chef) and husband and husband’s sister who have created this burgeoning restaurant empire based on their home cuisine.
Taiwan cuisine is a kind of mix of Japanese and Chinese food, both countries having exerted all sorts of influence over the island for many years. The place itself is small, so very little space for crops and swathes of livestock, so fish and seafood predominate.
Pork and chicken do pop up, being easier to look after in a smaller area, and of course restaurants in London have peddled Taiwanese food for years, slightly under the radar, but Bao has Soho-ified the thing, taking a popular street food, refining it and making it, well, trendy.
No doubt the foodies will be talking about the dish of stuffed chicken with the head on and the tea master ceremony, and even the Mahjong room, but the cocktails and the food from all over the mountainous regions of the island will be the draw.