In anticipation of my regular rotation from my place in Belize to the Netherlands every few months, I decided it was time to plan some outings to check out a few new eats in the country. When I left in January there was still snow on the ground here in Eindhoven and I was recovering from major thyroid surgery. I could barely make it downstairs to the market, let alone walk around Amsterdam all day.
It’s no secret that both Brett and I are still missing life in Taipei, even five years later. When I heard about a Taiwanese Bao joint in Amsterdam that had a pop-up brunch scheduled for the weekend, I was on it. Award-winning chef Justin Brown is the mastermind behind Bao Buns Amsterdam and does regular “test kitchen” multi-course bao dinners a couple nights a week, and various pop up events like this brunch.
Marvin on Kinkerstraat
The brunch took place at Marvin on the Kinkerstraat. It’s a cute little shop on the Kinkerstraat in the Oud West neighborhood that is a combination of retail space and a small food service area and kitchen in the back. They do private dinners, catering, workshops, and of course, pop-ups, and more.
The menu featured six different baos and two other items.We were told it takes usually 3-4 to fill up and we managed to sample our way through all eight options on the menu, sharing each one so we could try everything. The menu for March 26th’s brunch included:
Slow Cooked Pork Belly Bao
Served with fried onions, radish slices, and hot sauce, the slow cooked pork belly bao was decadent and delicious. Definitely one of our favorites.
Smoked Salmon Bao
The smoked salmon bao was served with crème fraiche and a hint of lemon.
Open Bao with Fried Hen Egg
The open bao with fried hen egg had spinach and my favorite Korean sauce, Gochujang.
Open Bao with Mushrooms
This open-faced bao had mushrooms and a rich Hollandaise sauce.
Fried Tempeh Bao
The fried tempeh bao had a zesty kimchi mayonnaise. If you’ve never had, or heard of, tempeh, it’s a soybean cake from Indonesia and is similar to tofu.
Fried Chicken Bao
This was my favorite of the day. The fried chicken bao served with a red dragon sauce, coriander, and pineapple kimchi.
In addition to the baos, they also had two other dishes that we had to try:
Beef and Corn Croquettes
It’s Holland, you can’t ever go wrong with a croquette and this was pretty tasty.
I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had a whole artichoke. This was a great way to end the meal, especially with the spicy chili mayo.
Bao Buns Amsterdam
Both for the brunch and the pop up dinners, all baos are 4 Euros each.
Overall, the baos were excellent. The dough was soft, akin to what you find with a good traditional Taiwanese bao in Taipei. The flavors were fun, bright, and I really loved the use of the Korean elements as well.
Great cappuccinos and they have a fun selection of juices like the Elderflower Lemonade I had. We lucked out getting a reservation, but I also think it helped we went early on Holland’s version of daylight savings, or “Summertime” change, which mean every one was likely sleeping in after losing an hour.
If you’re looking to hit one of the Bao test kitchen dinners or any potentially scheduled pop ups and/or brunches in the future, I highly suggest making reservations online. The restaurant area is small and cozy, so you’re risking it trying to walk in.
Check Bao Buns Amsterdam’s Facebook page for future events and reservations links. I’m definitely looking forward to trying one of the pop-up six-course bao dinners at some point while I’m back in Holland for the next month.
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