Sunday, 3 March 2013

Baozi Inn - Stay out! Mar 2013

Offering a somewhat confused meander through North and West China (via Sichuan), the Baozi Inn has quietly squatted on its Chinatown corner for years. It's a bit down at heel inside, but no more than many of the other places that make up the alleys and nooks of Chinatown.

The baozi, ubiquitous across large parts of (particularly Northern) China where it is the equivalent of a sandwich, is a steamed doughy pocket, an oversized dumpling, stuffed with pork, mushrooms or whatever else is close to hand. It's hot, steamy meatiness is most of what I've ever wanted in a snack but for some reason it has never quite hit the spot. Unlike the steamed char sui buns you get on a weekend dim sum-athon, the dough is often too thick and dense for me, and the filling too often a molten hot, fatty meat patty swimming in it's own grease. As I say, it should do the trick...

Other than the leaden baozi which I've had a few times before from here and the stall across the road (each time vowing not to do it again), there's an array of other dishes on the menu. Many are Northern Chinese specialities but there's a scattering from the South West and elsewhere in the vast country. On deeper inspection sadly, none of what I tried recently was good.

Boiled beef fried in rice meal has the intriguing texture of slow cooked jerky coated in soft rice meal, like a rubbery overcooked fish finger swimming in astringent fuel cell orange oil. As unpleasant as it sounds, though they tried to inflict more digestive damage by banging it in a microwave before bringing it out. Beijing style dumplings with dark soy and vinegar were better, though the dumpling skin was much thicker than was entirely pleasant and at £7.50 a portion, three times the price of those at Silk Road.

Fridge cold spinach with beans, lemon and ginger dressing finished an under-ambitious, barely edible trio that left me wishing i'd had a sandwich instead. Not a baozi, I'd have taken a budget service station offering over that little lot, and wouldn't have come close to the £20 I had to shell out.

Baozi Inn on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I don't like this place, either. It gained a lot of good press upon opening, but I've never felt that the food matched the hype. Throw in uncomfortable chairs, even-surlier-than-average-Chinatown service and mediocre food, and it's no wonder I haven't eaten here in years.

    By the way, have you popped into the 'Chinese skewer' take-away next door? This is pretty good, and it's hard to believe that Baozi Inn operate this stall.