Editor’s Note: We are sad to report that Bao’s Kitchen has now closed. Explore our other articles for alternatives of where to eat in The Hague.
When you push open the door of Bao’s Kitchen in The Hague, the Netherlands, it feels a lot like stepping out of your own home and into someone else’s. And that’s exactly how head chef and owner, Bao, wanted it.
Located on the Raamstraat, the restaurant has been open since June 2011. The Raamstraat is actually one of the oldest streets in the city of The Hague but one that can easily be overlooked. In the 14th century this area, already full with houses, was where woven woolen sheets were hung out to dry on large wooden ‘windows’, resulting in the area being known as the window fields. Now the street is better known for having some of the most vivid graffiti adorning its walls.
Bao’s Kitchen is unassuming from the street, but inside second-hand and natural materials enhance the ‘at home’ feeling. On one wall is a large black and white photo of a young boy in a chef’s uniform but Bao laughed at the suggestion that it was him in his youth. “No, it’s a picture of my son. I don’t know if he’ll grow up to be a chef but he has a bright imagination that will definitely take him somewhere exciting.”
“Lunch is one main dish; faster if you’re on-the-go, but always the same great quality.”
An open kitchen allows you to see the care and attention that’s put into preparing the Vietnamese-inspired dishes, and smells of herbs and spices drift through the restaurant. “Right now the restaurant is open for dinner seven days a week and for lunch on the weekends, but I’m planning to soon extend the lunch service to weekdays,” outlined Bao. “Lunch is one main dish; faster if you’re on-the-go, but always the same great quality.”
Asian inspired cooking is not new to The Hague. A concentration of Chinese and Asian companies are located in The Hague, and eastern cooking utensils can easily be found in the stores. Even Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival are extensively celebrated in and around the city’s China Town.
For the fish, meat, and vegetarian three course menu Bao uses fresh ingredients which are sustainably produced and, where possible, in season. The menu changes every two weeks but if you have a favourite dish (such as the sweet potato tempura, spicy sweet and sour sauce, and fresh coriander), don’t worry, it may pop up on the menu again in the future.
Fresh ingredients in The Hague are never a problem what with the Haagse Markt nearby. The first edition of the market was held on May 16th 1938. Nowadays, around 40,000 people visit the Herman Costerstraat where it is held on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. With around 550 stalls, it is easy to find everything from fruits and vegetables to Asian spices.
Back in the restaurant, Bao explained his decision to go with an open kitchen concept, “People who come here should feel like they’re at home; it should feel welcoming and personal. That’s why I called the restaurant Bao’s Kitchen; it’s an open, living space.”
Where – Bao’s Kitchen, Raamstraat 13, 2512 BX, The Hague
When – Seven days a week: 5pm – 10pm Monday to Friday / 12pm to 10pm Saturday and Sunday
Web – www.baoskitchen.nl