She’s passionate about handmade dumplings, learned traditional techniques at the apron strings of her grandmother, and now her mission is “everyone eats.” While they might not look like Chinese mamas, four travelling souls converged in Lisbon and became fast friends. While they loved the city vibe and diversity, they found Lisbon lacking a proper street food dumpling joint, ones like they’d seen abroad.

Lisbon was missing out on some of the most delicious food out there. In their eyes, Asian street food is a perfect combination of what good food should be: the clean, contrasting, and intense flavours, fresh ingredients cooked quickly, perfect to share, and accessible to everyone. Turns out, the obvious answer was to start one.

In December 2020, Catarina Coutinho, Maria Villas Boas, Charles Desclos, and Pedro Vasconcelos opened the 22-seat Madam Bō Dumplings in Lisbon’s Príncipe Real neighborhood. They later asked Chef Leonor Godinho to join the project, developing the recipes and helping to stay true to the concept.

At Madam Bō’s there’s an understanding and respect for the basics of the intricate techniques. But at the same time, they strive to adapt the taste and texture to what modern-day Lisboans love. Chef Leonor works tirelessly, creating authentic recipes based on traditional methods with a fresh and modern approach.

The menu is short, mostly dumplings, and delicious. Each colour is a flavour. Pink for pork and sichuan, green for tofu and vegetables (vegan), yellow for chicken and shiitake, white for shrimp and coriander, and black for beef and hoisin. The menu also offers fresh sides to complement the handmade dumplings: hot and sour (vegan) and miso soups and three salads, edamame, crunchy coleslaw, and spicy sour cucumber. And it wouldn’t be complete without dessert, matcha mousse topped with black sesame crumble.

In addition to the tasty always-on dumpling fare, Madam Bō partners with a new chef or brand each month in their In & Out Dim Sum project to keep innovation and excitement alive. Not long ago they featured Chef Pedro Abril and his flavorful Jajjang Bao, a pork and fermented bean bao.

Madam Bō would love to welcome you to her chic Príncipe Real location to eat in or takeaway. Dumpling lovers would be crazy not to take advantage of their weekday lunch special, All You Can Dumpling. But if an in-house meal isn’t in the cards, freshly-made dumplings can be had to-go, in frozen packs of 10 for your convenience or delivered to your Lisbon metro door. So when in Lisbon, pass by and enjoy a simple, tasty homemade meal that lets you travel via your tastebuds. After all, mama knows best.

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