Battle of the Buns – a Lunar New Year showdown

Happy Lunar New Year!

London’s best bao joints are celebrating the Year of the Rabbit – which begins this Sunday January 22 – with some very special sweet and savoury baos and steamed buns. Here’s our pick of the fluffle.

Bun House, Soho

Bun house
Jess Hand

This tasty trio sees Bun House’s very own bunny bun infused with the classic Cantonese sweet; White Rabbit Candy Creams. They’ve also got a ‘Faat Choi’ Bun of Fortune with black-sesame lava and a ‘Dai Gut’ Bun of Luck, which is packed with dark-chocolate and mandarin flavours and looks uncannily like an actual orange. Magic. The winner of the Battle of the Buns is crowned!

Bao, King’s Cross and Soho

Jess Hand

Bao’s rather grumpy-looking bunny head comes stuffed with a red-bean curd and white-chocolate filling. They might be angry, but they’re pretty damn tasty – maybe they’re just miffed at the thought of being shamelessly scoffed? Until February 5, you can also have a celebratory group feast in Bao’s private dining rooms, with house pickles and crispy noodles followed by classic bao with braised pork and fermented greens, cull yaw dumplings, soy-glazed aubergine and Taiwanese fried chicken. It’s £39 per person. 

Daddy Bao, Tooting

Daddy Bao
Jess Hand

Tooting’s neighbourhood Taiwanese restaurant Daddy Bao has a brand new fragrant fish bao on offer especially for Lunar New Year. It comes as part of an eight-course tasting menu available on the evenings January 23 and 24, alongside the likes of grilled scallop with umami butter and crispy seaweed, eight-treasure duck and there’s a veggie menu too, with tofu jiaozi, banana blossom bao and eight-treasure cabbage. 

Baozilnn, Soho

Jess Hand

Sichuan and Hunan Street food spot BaoziInn is doing its bit for Lunar New Year vegetarians with a special vegan menu, which is available until the end of February. Its bun offering is a perfectly pink lotus-seed number, but it’s also got other seasonal delights up for grabs, including special plant-first dim sum, dumplings, noodles and skewers.

Where to celebrate Lunar New Year in London

The very best restaurants in Chinatown