All the things…

Long time, no blog. So sorry about that, but it has been super hectic chez Pao! recently.

The most exciting and brilliant thing is that we have found a home! We are going to be setting up at Make Liverpool next to Invisible Wind Factory in the north Liverpool docks. We are working closely with the Make guys and The Beautiful Ideas Company on getting up and running.

We have also been catering here there and everywhere but are going to do some public events.

So here’s when Pao! is open to the public in the next couple of months:

Sound City 2016

Saturday 28th May – We are open at our new home on Regent Street by Make Liverpool and Invisible Wind Factory, to catch the Sound City traffic. We will be open from 3pm to 1am!

Independent Liverpool Food & Drink Festival

9th & 10th July – We are back at Independent Liverpool’s Food & Drink Festival – The Carnival Edition! Taking place in the Great Baltic Warehouse on Greenland Street the festival runs across the two days and is open 12noon to 11pm.

We have a nice and steady stream of catering jobs coming in, and if you need food for an event, you can find our catering menu here.

We hope to see you tomorrow and again in July!


On the Threshold of Beautiful Ideas

I trust you all had a fabulous Easter!

We’re a quarter in to 2016 and Liverpool is finally waking up from its winter sleep, the sun is pouring in through my window, warming my feet as I write this. It’s a great time of year – the air buzzing with possibilities waiting in brighter evenings.

This weekend we are returning to the Baltic Triangle for the Threshold Festival, its hard to believe it has been a whole year since we used the Trenchtown Truck for the first time!

Anna and Shelly have put together a menu of warming, nourishing food for this year’s Threshold – fragrant noodle broth and substantial curries full of goodness. We will be pitched up right next to the festival box office this year, and as always we have vegan and gluten free options on offer. And, as you have all come to expect, everything is made from scratch with love, care and attention.

We will be open tomorrow 17:00-21:30 and Saturday & Sunday 12:00-21:30.Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 12.47.20

From the very inception of pao! we have been committed to community engagement and the promotion of better food knowledge and eating habits. We always thought that this would be something we would develop a few years down the line when pao! is an established empire of greatness! But is seems that we may have put our cart in-front of our proverbial horse…

I am reluctant to say too much, because nothing is set in stone yet, but we are fairly optimistic that we will be posting exciting news on the venue front very soon! And on our way, we have made some fantstic new connections with extraordinary people who share our ideals, I mean, how good is that!? We will keep you updated and let you know how we get on with our mission to secure our own place!

In the meantime, get yourselves down to Threshold this weekend for a culture injection and fill your boots with pao! food.

I’d like to remind you that you are now able to order catering from pao!, still inspired by Asian street food, we provide everything from simple buffets to private suppers and elegant canapés. Just download the menu by clicking on the link below and get in touch!



pao! bento box


After months of research and costing, our catering menu is now ready! And you can download it here!


Every job we do, no matter how small, we do with love for the food and for the event as a whole. Using seasonal produce, makes our food better for you, better for the environment and healthier too. We use local suppliers to cut down on air miles and to support the local economy, and we buy from sustainable sources whenever possible. At pao! we make everything from scratch – from Vietnamese summer rolls, pot-sticker dumplings and our beloved kimchi. We make our owns pickles, marinades and sauces and we cure our own meat and fish.

You can choose anything you like from the menu of course, but we also offer a tailor made service where we create a menu with you!

So whether you have a delegate lunch and are sick of sandwich platters, want something that going to keep people awake and alert through the afternoon, or you are planning a private dinner for you and your friends, maybe you are getting married, perhaps you want a less boring buffet for the christening, perhaps you want to impress with private chefs in a spectacular location, how about a BBQ where you can talk to your guests instead of hovering over the coals, you might be throwing a cocktail party and need some beautiful canapés – we can do all of it!

The menu will provide a good indication of the style of food you can expect from us, we have deliberately not included prices, not because we are being sneaky, but because we want to use your budget as a starting point and take it from there!

Over time we have collected a large database of recipes, so if you can’ find what you are looking for in the catering menu, chances are we can still make it for you! Our research skills are honed, so if you had an unforgettable food experience in the East back in the day that you would love to replicate – we will certainly do our best to recreate those memories.

We want everyone to enjoy our food, but you can’t please all the people all the time, so we have developed recipes that can be adapted to suit hearty meat eaters, strict vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, the lactose intolerant, the gluten free ones and those with a more delicate palate, who usually don’t go for Asian food.

Our central aim with our catering is that you get what suits your needs for your event – which is why we want to talk to you, to get an understanding of what is important to you. We tailor to you – you tell us what you want and what the budget is: if you want the streetfood vibe, we can serve our food in take-away containers (recycled and biodegradable of course!), if it is something a little more refined, we have our own collection of odd and beautiful Asian crockery that will make your meal really special. If it is a buffet you are after, we can do that too, prices varying depending on the complexity of your menu, staffing requirements, resources and conditions of the site or venue where you are hosting your event, etc. Don’t worry, there is always a way!

For larger and bespoke events, we offer a tasting of the selected dishes, we can deliver like a takeaway; or we can make a meal of it and have a tasting where the pao! team rock up at your house and cook, serve and tidy up after you and your family and friends. We will also offer scheduled tastings 2-3 times per year, so sign up to our mailing list now to hear about the next one!

Fire, Water, Air & Earth

  I have been watching Cooked on Netflix and feel compelled to tell you all about it! 

In a four part series, author Michael Pollan takes us through the history of humans and our relationship with each other, food and cooking. I loved it, almost as much as the first season of Mind of a Chef with David Chang, which is also available on Netflix – unfortunately the PBS catch-up channel isn’t available in the UK.

The first episode in the Cooked series is Fire. The importance of human beings’ ability to control fire has never been called into question, but more recently it has been argued that it is when we learned to prepare food with fire, that was the big game changer!

Fire gives us light and warmth, which mean that we could remain active into the night and gives us protection from predators and bugs. But cooking is what allows us to spend most of our time making things and working stuff out, instead of chewing. Some of that time was spent working out that we can water, air and earth to prepare food too!

All this time and nutritious, easily digested food, allowed our brains to grow and our curiosity and ambition to run wild. It shows us how we have arrived at the peculiar, removed relationship to food and eating, many of us experience today, and how we might claw back some of the intimacy we once had with our food. Sharing a meal, cooking together, feeding friends and family are all acts of love and generosity. Most of the food we are confronted with on a daily basis, is ubiquitous, sugary, fatty and processed, made without any love engagement and care. 

No wonder some of us develop such unhealthy and warped relationships with our food. 

Anyway, i hope you enjoy Cooked as much as I did and that it inspires you! 

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (2009) by British primatologist Richard Wrangham.

Delaying the Freakout – An Exercise in Perseverance!

maxresdefault (1)Sometimes life smacks you round the chops – what the hell do you do with that?

We love our jobs, it gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning, not knowing what the day has in store for us that day, is part of the appeal of being self-employed.

Of course, there are many things that go with having your own business that can really test your patience, resilience, and dedication. Doing your tax return for example, putting on events in the rain and freezing cold, carting all of our equipment around in bags for life and still trying to come across as professional, roping in the Anna’s mum to help us cart our stuff around, the 7 day working week, making tedious spreadsheets and costing ingredients to make sure our business is viable. It’s a tough old game!

But for every negative, it is equally balanced out by many positives. From our position we see having own restaurant, own catering van and the cash flow to pay the business bills, as the holy grail. Even then, although things are easier, you have other obstacles to deal with. I worked with The Bagelry this weekend to help them out, from their perspective I can see obstacles don’t just go away when you have your own place, they just change form. Just like life, I guess?

This week has really highlighted the highs and lows of running your own business. Pao have of course been planning our supper club at Claremont Farm for some serious time! So it came as a blow when we heard the news 2 days ago, due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to change venue. We are gutted about this, and were really looking forward to work with the lovely Andrew Pimbley in the farm’s beautiful family-run café at Claremont. I am sure they can attest to the fact that even the best laid plans can fail.

So, instead of crying into our pillows, reaching for the whisky (although we did share a snifter!), or even worse cancelling – we decided to delay the freak-out. So, mid snifter, the three of us took a deep breath, and thought of some solutions.

The lovely folks at Frederik’s have generously and graciously offered to host our supper club. Disaster averted, we hope!

Obviously due to the relocation some have understandably had to cancel. So what now? Cancel? No way! We have worked too hard to plan this event, far too stubborn to quit!

Anyway, for all you budding entrepreneurs out there, if there is one thing I know, as a start up business trying to make it count, it’s that it is possible to delay your freak-out to a later date. If you are lucky enough to have a good people around you, which we are -reach out and talk to them, there might be someone out there to help. My mum always said, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

Have a wonderful day, be kind to others and yourself, but most importantly  – don’t give up!






The rain is lashing the window panes, the wind is howling and shaking the roof tiles – what do I crave? Apart from a roaring fire and a cosy blanket, I want a bowl of steaming hearty soup. Instead of reaching for the easy option of a tin or an over salted cup-a-soup – which, don’t get me wrong, I have done – never forget how easy it is to create your own and how little it costs, sometimes even free. So, sorry but I’m going to go on about soup for a bit…

Soup is a staple part of many diets around the world as it can be a simple wholesome, healthy and affordable way to feed a large number of people. If you think about it you realise there is a soup related to every cuisine in the world: France and its famous French Onion using veal bones for its stock; Spain’s Gazpacho served cold in its hot hot summers; flavorsome and rich Minestrone from Italy; the fishy and brilliantly named Cullen Skink from Scotland – the list goes on!

Soup is an affordable and simple way to feed and give warmth to many, which is the reason reason soup kitchens were created and became widely used back in the day, way, way back in the day. They were created to feed swathes of people struggling to get by in times of economic stress all around the world. It’s good to know, or believe that for generations and generations, society does not like to see people struggle to feed themselves – well the majority of us anyway.  Here in the UK and in many other parts of the world. These soup kitchens, and now food banks, have become an essential need within our communities due to welfare cuts and increasing food prices. I could go on and on about this, but that’d be a whole other story. One thing that did surprise me though, was that in most of the black and white images I found, it seemed to be men queueing for the food and women cooking and serving. I may have to look into this a little more…

 How often have you reached for the chicken soup when you or someone close to you is ill or recuperating? Some soups and stocks are known to be good for your health. It is widely believed that broth made from animal or fish bones is a great immune booster and health healer. I have no personal proof of this, but I’m sure some scientist somewhere has done a lot of research on this. Bone broth or stock is said to be nutrient dense and full of minerals amongst many other things. When you’re ill and you’ve got no appetite, a beef or chicken broth may be the only thing you can stomach. I’d certainly be trusting it’s claimed health benefits.

Sorry to all you vegetarians out there, but then all is not lost. In Asia, they use miso paste in some broths and this is vegetarian. Miso is made by fermenting things like soybeans, barley and many other grains with a fungus called Aspergillus oryzae (yes I had to look that up). We are hearing more and more about fermented foods and their health benefits these days. Even our recipe below contains Kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage dish. Fermented foods are said to be good for your digestive tract as they contain beneficial microorganisms and probiotics. I could go on and on about Miso and it’s benefits as well, but I’d rather you read what someone else has written about it here.

Anyway, enough information. I know I have a slight obsession about soup especially at this time of year but I just wanted to remind everyone of it’s underrated place on anyone’s table or any restaurant’s menu. Also, how you can surprise yourself by getting creative using anything in your fridge that might be on its last legs, or something that may have been lurking in your cupboard for the last year (I won’t be held responsible if something of your own creation makes you ill – just saying). Not everyone has the same ingredients to hand all the time, but all the more reason create something of your own. I still remember being so proud of myself after making a spicy beef and tomato soup out of frozen beef burgers once – this was many years ago, before I knew what I know now, don’t judge me, we all start somewhere!

At Pao we are slightly uptight about wasting food so we love to come up with creative ways to use any food we have left over. Shelly and myself created a soup one day using leftover Kimchi, beetroot and a spicy tomato sauce. We also added a bit of Bratwurst that happened to be hanging about. It turned out to be a hearty bowl of deep red loveliness, which we have added to our new catering menu that is coming very soon.

So what are you waiting for? “Get your soup on” and watch this video about one of Pao’s favourite ingredients – Kimchi… I had to get it in somewhere!

Anna Brown – Pao! Director & Head Chef


“Good Continuation”, is what us Swedes say at this peculiar time of year between Christmas and New Year. I guess it is a reasonably chirpy thing to wish others if they are indeed having a festive season full of cheer, and not something you would wish on someone with a bit of a heavy salad on their plate or anyone in the third week of February, when nothing seems like it will ever be ok again…

And although I bloody love Christmas and all the eating, drinking and lolloping around – it has to end for all our sakes, because if it did continue many of us would develop gout and type 2 diabetes rapidly, and in tandem. 

I will still be here in my Scandinavian motherland at New Year, wishing for the good kind of snow with my nephew and nieces. If I wasn’t doing that, I would be at the Kazimier celebrating the Escape to Planet Kronos with you guys! Well, I would be there with my sisters from different misters, Shelly and Anna, feeding you guys with Pao! goodness.

We will be in our own stall in the garden, serving up the kind of tasty treats that will see you through into 2016, the after parties and beyond!

I will see you all again in 2016, fattened up and chilled out Swedish style…

Mia Tagg

Year of the Monkey Supper Club @ Claremont Farm

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With New Year is fast approaching, it’s a time to for us all to reflect the year gone by, plan for the future, and gain some perspective.

Here in the west New Years celebrations is over and done with in one fell swoop, with a day spent on the couch recovering watching rubbish TV. In the East they have a whole 15 days of festivities, carrying out ‘auspicious’ symbolic rituals to protect the family in the coming new year.

If you want to see some examples of Chinese New Year celebrations from across the world, click here!

The food of course is very important – bringing together family. Certain dishes hold great symbolic meaning, eating them brings luck, good fortune and good health. Check out this short film!

Our own China Town is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, dating back to the 1850’s, with the arch being the largest, multiple-span arch of it’s kind outside China. There is much to admire in the rich history and culture, symbolism and superstitions, and the fact that they take this time to ensure they are with their loved ones.

We decided to hold our own Chinese New Year celebrations, this time we are collaborating with Claremont Farm. We couldn’t think of a more perfect setting to hold a great feast, during a time which can be a little depressing.

We have tried to recreate a menu that holds both traditional symobolic meaning and showcases only the best local seasonal produce available, with a few weird and wonderful ingredients thrown in for good measure. We are doing it family style, a true banquet!

Year of the Monkey Menu
Year of the Monkey Menu

2016 is the Year of the Monkey Occupying the 9th position on the Chinese Zodiac, were you born in the year of the monkey?

Perhaps you are looking for a Christmas gift for the person who has it all? Simply want to have an evening out during one of the darkest months of the year, or flip do something different for Valentine’s Day?

Either way, we hope you can join us say goodbye to 2015 and the Year of the Goat, and welcome in the Year of the Monkey 2016 with Pao at the beautiful Claremont Farm.

Tickets are £35.00 available here or over the counter at the Claremont Farm shop.

Last, but by no means least, have the merriest of Christmasses and a brilliant New Year!

Shelly, Mia & Anna – Pao!

pao baltic a3 v2



Crunch Time!

It’s a short one this week, am in a bit of a hurry as we are back in our beloved Baltic Triangle for this weekend’s Food Slam

It’s that time of year again! Looking to reconnect with neglected friends and family members over the holidays and making big decisions of where to take pao! in 2016, and most taxingly perhaps, deciding how we go about getting there. Luckily, we have each other, and in this week of giving thanks I would like to tip my hat to the trinity of sisterhood that drives pao! Which is a bit soppy, but I am very proud to be a part of it, and am sincerely grateful to work with ladies with figurative brass balls and who are completely “bossed up” .

There are still tickets available for Sweet & Sour Food Power at the Baltic Bakehouse on the 12th December, there is limited tickets on sale, so get yours now!

In other exciting news, we will be part of th Kazimier’s NYE swansong, which is an honour and a privilege –  the Kazimier guys have added tremendous value to the city centre for those of us who prefer ingenuity and quality on a night out. With both Mello Mello and the Kazimier gone, the quirky charm of the Rope Walks of yore, will be a thing of future legend. The Kazimier is dead, long live the Kazimier (and the Invisible Wind Factory!) So, in addition to a spectacular line-up and production, we will be there feeding you all!

See you again next week!