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I’ve worked on Baldwin Street in the centre of Bristol for nearly three years now, and every morning on my way to work I walk past the same bank of sad, newspapered up old restaurants. They’ve been shut down for so long now that they’re practically invisible – they just seem to blend into the background. So a few weeks ago, when I noticed that the newspaper had come down, and there was movement in one of them, I made a mental note to keep an eye on it.
What sprung up (in a surprisingly short space of time) was BaoWow. Now for those of you in the know the clue as to what they do is in the name, but I didn’t have the foggiest. Being the nosey cow that I am I decided to go and ask, so let me share my new found wisdom with you.
A Bao (pronounced “bow”, as in “cow”) is a Chinese steamed bun, which is sliced and filled with all sorts of fillings. They can be sweet or savoury, but BaoWow is sticking with savoury, with their filling options including shredded spicy chicken, sticky BBQ pork and my favourite, Hoi Sin duck. For just £6 you can get your choice of two filled Baos, which is more than enough for lunch.
But don’t think that the choice stops with Baos at BaoWow. They have a large range of rice and noodle dishes, and much to my excitement, a selection of Pho; noodle soup! I’ve been a bit obsessed with noodle soup ever since I tried Chill Daddies at St Nick’s Friday food market, and I’m now obsessed with BaoWow’s version. I’m not sure quite how healthy a generous helping of noodle soup is (and these are VERY generous) but there’s something very virtuous and home cooked about it. Packed full of chill, coriander and Chinese greens, and with a whopping portion of your chosen meat or Tofu, it’s real comfort food. At just £5 it’s pretty reasonable too.
I’m reliably informed by Gemma from Bristol Foodie that the team behind BaoWow are the same people who run The Thai Kitchen at The Old Fish Market, which would explain why everything tastes so fresh and authentic. It also means I now have a little fantasy about them running both kitchens via a complex network of tunnels below St Nick’s, but I think that probably says more about my over-active imagination than anything else!
Anyway, the point is that BaoWow are brilliant, and are a long overdue addition to the Bristol foodie scene – as far as I’m concerned anyway!