When it came to putting together the menu for Daddy Bao, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle. While we wanted to offer something a bit different to our first restaurant, Mr Bao in Peckham, every dish we do there has its loyal fans, so we didn’t want to upset anyone by leaving out their favourite. By way of compromise, we opted for a bit of old with a bit of new – a few Mr Bao classics, plus some original dishes that we think are among the best we’ve ever created. Here’s what you need to know about all the newbies.
Dishes at Daddy Bao tend to fall into one of two camps – traditional, or innovative, and this is definitely the latter. As our own creation, it’s not a dish you’ll find on a menu anywhere in Taiwan or mainland China, which is kind of weird, really, as aubergine and sesame are both staples of Chinese cooking and work beautifully together. We roast the aubergine to make it good and smoky, then top it with sesame sauce, pomegranate seeds and spring onion for a fresh, gently sweet finish.
Snow peas with soy glaze
Proof that Chinese cuisine needn’t be complicated, this is a simple combo of steamed snow peas, fresh ginger and a sticky, salty glaze. One of the lighter dishes on the menu, this is a good one to order for the table if you want some healthy nutrients, or are trying to get the kids to eat their greens!
Pak choi with yellow bean sauce
Kind of like a louder version of the snow peas, this guy comes topped with slices of fresh red chilli and served with a side of punchy yellow bean sauce. As a dish you’ll find offered up across China, this is definitely one from the ‘traditional’ camp, but we just think our version tastes that little bit better (yes, of course we’re biased).
These bitesize beauts were devised by Daddy Bao himself, and he’s so proud of them that not only does he insist on making every batch himself, but the recipe is a closely guarded secret, too. All we’re allowed to say is that they’re made from minced chicken, chives and a secret blend of spices. For any more details, you’ll have to buy dad a few drinks and try your luck.
Three cups chicken bao
Known as ‘san bei ji’ in Taiwan, this brilliantly simply dish gets its name from the three base ingredients used in equal parts to make the marinade: sesame oil, rice wine and soy sauce. Rather than stir-frying, our twist is to slow-braise the meat in the marinade, then add garlic, ginger, Thai basil and a few extra spices, before stuffing the melty-soft results into one of our squishy bao buns, and topping with red cabbage and spring onion for a touch of crunch. We also opt to reduce the oil content to balance the dish.
Lychee pale ale
Okay, so this is a drink rather than a dish, but we’re so proud of it we just couldn’t not flag it up. Brewed by our pals at Old Kent Rd Brewery, it’s a pale ale with a juicy tropical aroma that comes from a mega-charge of American hops, plus an extra whack of lychee flavour that makes it the perfect beery alternative to our signature Lychee Daiquiri cocktail. Oh, and the chap on the label is pretty handsome, too.
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