Le Bao bring their trophy-winning take on a Taiwanese street food sandwich to Bestival’s feast in a field near you
When you think about it, winning the UK’s 2016 Best Sandwich Award as street food sensations Le Bao did, is quite the achievement. Like having the Best Sushi in Japan or France’s Top Baguette. We are the country that invented the sandwich in the first place, and most natives eat one every lunchtime – it’s our edible export to the rest of the world. It also says a lot about British food that, possibly because we don’t have the strongest culinary traditions, we are happy to put our egg and cress to one side and embrace other culture’s takes on the sandwich like the bao bun. This Chinese steamed, stuffed bread is Le Bao’s founders Laetitia and Jessica’s product of choice after they indulged in them on a trip to Taiwan in 2014. They brought them back to London with a modern flare and sell them to queues of addicted punters from their silver street food truck.
The best way to sample them in Dorset has to be at this year’s Bestival, relocated from the Isle of Wight to Lulworth Estate from 7th–10th September. Le Bao are part of the festival’s Feast Collective area which brings some of the best street food in the business to a rather lovely field in Dorset. These pork belly baos from the duo show how the secret to much great street food is in the prep. You need to start the day before your next barbecue but the results, if you get even slightly close to what Le Bao won at the British Street Food Awards with, it will be worth it.
50ml Soy milk
500g rice flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of salt caster sugar
1 tbs sunflower oil
1 tbs active yeast
1 tbs baking powder
Mix all ingredients except sunflower oil and let ferment for at least 2 hours. Once ready, cut into half moon shapes and brush the insides with sunflower oil so they don’t stick. Place buns in the steamer on high heat for approximately 5 minutes to allow for cooking of dough.
1kg Pork Belly Bao
200ml of light and dark soy sauce
350 ml of Shaoxing wine
Chinese 5 spice
Put all ingredients in large pan and slow cook for at least 8 hours. Once ready, cut pork into a size that fits into bao buns and then place on a high heat griddle and let it braise on both sides until golden brown.
200g of raw peanuts
Grate peanuts and sugar in food processor until powder-like in texture.
50ml of mirin
Cut cucumber into your desired shape and size. Add mirin and let it pickle for at least 1 hour.
Coriander to taste
Sriracha to taste