Did you know the term bao bun is actually incorrect? Fun fact: bao means bun, so it’s kind of redundant, right? Somehow, however, this is how they are well-known in the UK. The original name seems to be Gua Bao, and I’ve read they are also known as Taiwanese hamburgers.
The ever-enlightening source of Wikipedia explains that the Gua Bao consists of “condiments sandwiched between flat steamed bread known as lotus leaf bread (he ye bing).” They are traditionally a Chinese accompaniment to dishes like steamed pork or roast duck, and so the buns go nicely with various fillings.
Bao buns seem to be appearing everywhere now in Glasgow and beyond, probably because everyone is going crazy for street food? Who knows, but just like avocados and llamas, they are becoming very popular with the younger generations.
So, where can you go to get your hands on some seriously delicious bao buns in Glasgow? The answer: Pavement.
When we visited Pavement, I didn’t really know what to expect. The place opened in 2018 so it hadn’t been there for long, the reviews online are good although not many, and the menu is not very extensive at all. When we arrived at the place, it was empty except for a couple of people at the bar, but we are actually used to find restaurants that look almost dead when we go out for dinner on a Wednesday evening, so we know not to let that affect much our expectations.
I had seen, however, some rather inciting posts on Instagram from fellow foodies, with the most sumptuous and loaded looking bao buns I had seen – so I did have this on my mind! That made the decision-making process very straightforward: halloumi fries, sweet potato fries, and a couple of the bao buns.
We ordered a chicken satay bao bun and a pork belly. Each portion comes with a pair on buns, we went for 2 flavours to share between the two of us and try different ones. But almost immediately after our order was taken to the kitchen, the chef came out to suggest we went for the special – chilli cheese beef bao buns. It was funny, I’d definitely never seen a chef coming out, apron on, approaching my table to tell me what I should order Either way, it sounded pretty good to us and we were happy to follow the expert’s suggestion, so we changed the pork belly for the special!
And to make the story short, these bao buns were AMAZING. Hopefully the pictures can speak for themselves!
The special was delicious, the beef was so tender and full of flavour, with that creamy tangy chilli cheese sauce, so delectable. The chicken satay was equally as good, if not better because it had so much texture – creamy peanut sauce with crispy chicken, it was incredible!
Both baos came well packed and topped with herbs, veggies and seeds, they even come with a wedge of lemon in case you fancy a zesty drizzle, not that they need it! So much flavour, they are really delightful. I think the menu fails to describe all the flavours that these buns come loaded with, I only knew they were going to be good because I’d seen pictures on the gram!
The sides were also fabulous. Halloumi seem to be a bit of a hit or miss. The ones at Pavement are an absolute hit – they are soft and squeaky, but perfectly crispy and light, and they had some chili flakes spicing up the taste a little bit. Amazing.
We loved Pavement, the place feels unpretentious and chillaxing, it’s on a great location, the portions are great, and the prices are very reasonable. They have a great range of beers too! Fantastic. We will definitely be back and try some more of their delicious food, although I’d be keen on just getting bao buns again, too good not to!