A feast

The rise and rise of home delivery meals continues unabated. Quality continues to improve as chefs figure out how best to deliver a good at-home experience. Choice extends as more and more enter the market.

Prices become increasingly competitive – this week’s cost £ 40 and serves four – as competition increases and operators find ways of working more efficiently.

So while restaurants re-open, the at-home model is here to stay as those who’ve feasted on great dinners from the comfort of their own living room lock up early, draw the curtains and plan for a night in with a bottle of supermarket vino and a delivery from DPD.

Home-X is a provider we’ve yet to feature, though we’re happy to correct that thanks to an insightful recommendation to give them a go. Customer experience is at the heart of their work and ordering, delivery and pricing were all on point. Ever evolving, menus provide a restaurant-standard experience from the comfort of your home. With a wide choice of boxes, Home-X will transform your kitchen into your new favorite restaurant.

Haus of Bao loomed into view, offering easy-to-prepare and even-easier-to-eat food packed with big, bold, umami-rich flavors. Bao buns are due their 15 minutes of fame.

Bao originated from either of the Chinese cities of Quanzhou or Fuzhou. They spread across the Asian world before becoming popular in the West during the early 2000s through chef David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants. Chang used them as a vehicle to use up leftover pork from his ramen dishes and soon the craze caught on, spreading across New York.

Here in the UK, there’s a modest number of bao bun outlets, though expect that to change. They are brilliantly diverse – literally, a bun in which you can stick any fillings – and the Asian flavors that dominate are super fashionable.

Time to get messy with plenty of toppings and sides

Made with a mix of flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder, milk and oil, the bao is a tad sweeter than its closely related cousin, the dumpling.

The perfect bao should be light, round and soft. It is more commonly known to be filled with pork.

However, as the bao bun has become more popular worldwide, the bao bun fillings have become much more diverse.

The bao is a little sweeter than your average bread bun, therefore fillings that balance out the flavors and make it into a more savory, delicious snack work best.

When it comes to what to serve with bao, the world really is your oyster.

Pork with a light and sticky sauce to accompany is the classic, though others may try beef, fish, or glazed mushrooms as a savory snack and chocolate for a sweeter dessert.

Haus of Bao offers a good variety of fillings. Gochujang pork was inspired by a Korean recipe that features red chilli paste and is simultaneously sweet, savory and spicy.

A slow cooked chicken thigh was similarly lively while a katsu pumpkin tipped its hat to the flavors of Japan.

Those were the three principle fillings that were heated, placed into piping hot bao buns then pimped with crunchy fried shallots, protein-rich peanuts and cashews, nicely warming spring onions and a deliciously intoxicating drizzle of char siu sauce.

Alongside were served garnishes, including a ballsy soy greens, a light and flavorsome carrot and daikon relish slaw and a high quality kimchi.

And from there, it was tuck in, get your hands messy and enjoy.

What’s in the box – it’s bao time.

Eating bao buns brings the enjoyment of informal eating to the home. Just as a barbecue is an inherently social way to eat with plenty of chat and finger-licking food, so bao buns bring people together.

Nothing is off limits and we scooped fillings into the fluffy buns before dressing with garnishes, as well as toppings, then greedily dispatching our prize.

The gochujang pork was magnificent. The pork had been slow cooked and shredded, remaining deliciously moist and tender, while the hint of chilli elevated the flavors and provided a light tingle on the tongue.

Crispy fried shallots added texture with plenty of sweet crunch while the salt peanuts and cashews added body and depth.

Spring onions livened proceedings up a little while the char siu offered flavors of honey, soy sauce, garlic and no little spice.

Hands were soon covered in food, and paper towels were needed to wipe away dribbles of sauce from chins.

The slow-cooked chicken thigh was equally appealing. Gently warmed on a medium heat for five minutes, the tender pieces of meat came alive when covered in moreish toppings.

The katsu pumpkin was a magnificent addition with the sweet, earthy flavor of pumpkin co-mingling with the warmer, spicier flavor of katsu.

Light and delicious, it made for happy eating.

I’m not sure how many people the buns were supposed to serve, though one kit easily served four – three buns per person – leaving them happy and replete.

The garnishes were good, too. Soy greens offered depth of flavor while the carrot and daikon radish slaw was the pick of the bunch.

Playful and great fun, it was food with a sense of humor that put smiles on the faces of those who eat it.

Home delivery meals have been a revelation. Our region doesn’t (yet) have a stand-out, go-to bao house – though hopefully that will change – but Home-X provided a great experience showcasing the brilliance of bao.

Like other providers who offer great taco boxes, it provided a welcome insight into a different culinary world with a low-cost box that punched above its weight.

The joy of home delivery meals is that they open windows to another world. And Home-X’s delivery from Haus of Bao does just that. There were few flaws. The food was fresh, easy to prepare and assemble and an absolute joy to eat.

Home delivery meals just got better.

By admin

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