Soho is full of important landmarks. There’s the water pump on Broadwick Street where a famous smart person figured out a cure for cholera. There’s Berwick Street Market, where Oasis took the picture for the album you probably spent a huge chunk of your teenage years being moody to. And then there’s Soho Square, where everyone hangs out in the summer and gets baked in the middle of the day. Last but by no means least, there’s the queue at Bao on Lexington Street.

Although they take reservations now,the queue for Bao has been an official London landmark since the day it opened. Deemed so by us. Because day in and day out, from midday to midnight, you’d find dozens of people are waiting to get into this Taiwanese bao shop.

The question we always grappled with is: had these people, queuing for steamed buns as if they were waiting for rations during World Wars, completely lost their minds? Or was it worth it?

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We’re not sure we’d ever have waited 45 minutes just for the Taiwanese buns they’re best-known for, but we would always enthusiastically join the queue for almost everything else on the menu. The small plates, which are modern takes on traditional Taiwanese dishes, are the best things to eat. In fact, they’re some of the most exciting things to eat anywhere in town. The trotter nuggets and beef soup with braised daikon, are true must-orders. And the Taiwanese fried chicken is essential.

Just remember this is an in-and-out kind of place, but it’s perfect for bringing a couple of friends so you can order everything on the menu. And don’t be surprised if you want to order a second round of everything.

Food Rundown

Pork Confit Bao

This is our favourite of the bao. We’re suckers for anything involving pork belly, and this is a good example.

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Classic Bao

The classic bao has shredded pork with peanuts on top. It’s pretty good, though we still prefer the confit.

Daikon Bao

If you have a vegetarian in tow, don’t worry—Bao actually does some solid veg dishes. Just ask. The daikon bao is spicy and crunchy and very good, regardless of whether you’re giving meat a miss or not.

Taiwanese Fried Chicken

We have eaten A LOT of fried chicken in our lifetimes, and this is probably one of the best we’ve ever tried. Seriously, you can keep the Southern Fried stuff. Order another one, and don’t stop when you’re full - stop when you hate yourself.

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Aged Beef With Aged White Soy Sauce

The beef is tender and the soy sauce somehow makes it taste better by a factor of 10. You won’t want to share it.

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Trotter Nuggets

These taste like the best drinking snack ever invented. We’re ordering a bucket of these the next time we’re on the ciders in Soho Square.

Pig Blood Cake

We like blood cake (black pudding) and this definitely looks very cool, but you don’t need to order it.

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Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Bao

You don’t really need dessert, but you’re not here to simply satisfy your appetite—you’re here because you have an insatiable urge to eat delicious things. This does not stay intact at all, but actually, it’s a cool idea and still really tasty.

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