Bao Down - GUA BAOS in Gastown!!


  I had SUCH a gastronomically satisfying day today I felt to need to share it with you all LOL. Eager and bright eyed, I arrived at Bao Down at 10:30 am - and they were still closed, so I had to wait outside for 30 mins like the pathetic food fanatic that I am ;)

  You guys know I feel about 'em BAOS...Taiwanese gua baos in particular hehe, cause I'm Taiwanese! I use to eat those things every other day in Taiwan when I visited in the summer LOL...as a midnight snack (I was so healthy back then.) Um, how can one say no to slick slabs of pork belly sandwiched between a pillowly soft bao bun?! That's what I thought ;)

  Bao Down has been on my radar ever since super commenter @LotusRapper tipped me off about their opening a few weeks ago  - so today I finally made the trip out to Gastown to try out their glorious buns for myself!! 

  There was actually a professional photographer there taking pictures for their advertisements at the same time I was taking pictures...which was pretty intimidating LOL, since I'm pretty much a photography noob haha ;)  

  One of the guys there was like "You're taking pictures too? Are you a blogger?" 
and I was like "Possiblyyy" *winkwink* 
Hey, I'm supposed to be incognito!! ;)

  One of the chefs asked me how I was liking my bao and he was like "Oh good!! I was nervous because you had a camera" so I showed him the pictures and he seemed to really like them!! :D

  Everyone here was so nice...seriously!! Especially the girl at the counter - she was super peppy and enthusiastic - just like me hehe! Every time I went back to order something else she would be like "You're back for more!? Yea let's do it!! " :D

  So after going to Bao Down I was about to head home...until I spotted Tacofino Gastown, and I stopped dead in my tracks. I can't pass up a good taco. Plus...I was still hungry LOL!! 

  Wait...you ate 3 baos and you were still hungry Selina?!! 
hehe...I could have easily ate 5, but I resisted...if only I had the money!! ;)

  So I gleefully glided into Tacofino and sat down, feeling half guilty that I had already eaten and was now sitting in another restaurant 8 mins later. OH THE GLUTTONY!!!

  I was reading reviews on Yelp and people were saying how 2 tacos was more than enough for them, so that's how much I ordered...and after finishing it I was still hungry LOL...and that was on top of eating 3 baos!! $30 poorer I knew I couldn't spend anymore money, so I bolted out the door before I could do anymore damage  - escaping unscathed, with my wallet still intact ;)



Ohh - they even have laska!! And I am SO coming back for their kimchi fries!! ;)


They have tables outside where you can stand and nosh on your food!! :D


They just released a new bao - The Lockers bao!! :D
Omg...Shoyu wings!! *drool*

 You can check out their full menu here: http://baodown.ninja/ 
Their url is .ninja...could this place get any cooler? I think not ;)


Ohh the Phrench Dip sounds really interesting!! Wagyu Beef paired with pho?! Fancyyy ;)


Omg...free LEMONGRASS water!! <3


I swear I'm the most indecisive person when it comes to editing photos LOL - in my mind I'm always like "Which angle looks better?!"


The YVR Bao $7
Sesame Seared Albacore Tuna/Pea Shoots/Bacon/Wasabi Mayo/Sweet Soy

3/5 stars
 Seared albacore tuna - very Vancouver indeed LOL. This was a really interesting combination of flavours - but they really made it work. You could taste all the different flavours in in bite, but the wasabi mayo was definitely the most overpowering. The wasabi was a little too strong for me - and it traveled up my nose and it burned LOL...
  A bit of smokiness from the bacon came through - which added an crunch, and the cilantro on top helped brighten up the flavours. The sweet soy was glazed on the bun with added a nice saltiness. The tuna was encrusted with sesame seeds, and had a silky mouth feel.


Jaws Bao $5
Coconut Encrusted Vietnamese Catfish - Kimchi Tartar Sauce - Cabbage - Thai Vinaigrette

3.5/5 stars

  Wow - bao down is really hitting the ball out of the park with these flavours!! The jaws bao came with 3 huge pieces of fried up catfish! The batter they use is panko batter - similar to the kind they use on katsu, which renders the fish super flaky and moist!! The crust really did taste like coconut! I couldn't really taste much of the kimchi sauce though - because it was overwhelmed by the coconut flavour - but I could definitely pick up some sourness from the thai vinaigrette!! 


Bao Chicka BAO BAO $6
Garlic Lemongrass Fried Chicken/Crisp Garlic/Daikon/Garlic Mayo/Fish sauce glaze/Carrot

4/5 stars

  Uhs-uhs-uhs BOW CHICKA WOW WOWW (say that in slow motion) hehe, sorry I just had to! ;)
  This was my favourite out of the bunch, and it wasn't just because of the name LOL ;) And it's their signature bao!!
This by far had the most POW WOW!! (okay, enough with the ows already Selina)

  The flavours just worked together beautifully!! I was expecting it to be really heavy on the garlic - but it actually wasn't - the garlic flavour was actually pretty subtle - which meant no garlic breath after...yay!! I could taste every ingredient - but the mayo and fish sauce was definitely the dominant flavour - so I couldn't really taste any of the lemongrass, but it was still really good! :D


They have seating at the counter by the windows - but there's a second level with more seating upstairs!! :D


Bao Down on Urbanspoon

17 comments:

  1. the 3 baos and 2 tacos.... please, teach me your ways!! xD

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    1. LOL!! I thank the Lord for my asian metabolism!! ;)
      Without it...this blog wouldn't exist haha!! I'll keep on blogging until my teenage metabolism burns out lol (let's hope that never happens!!) :D


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  2. You beat me to Bao Down !!!! I planned to go last week but didn't work out time-wise. But I plan to go this week. My fear will be indecision in ordering and too small a stomach ! Will report back here :-)

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    1. LOL ikr, if only we had the stomach space to try everything on the menu!! ;)
      I had a hardest time deciding too haha, everything on the menu sounded so good!! :D

      Can't wait to hear your thoughts!! :D

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  3. Omgggg I wish I could eat like you FML trying to lose weight for summer... =________= must check out Bao Down soon! XD

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    1. LOL Naomi!!! I have to work on my summer body too hehe!! ;)
      Been feeling a bit guilty these days for indulging so much!! XD

      Yes, you have try out Bao Down!! Can't wait to read your blog post about it! :D

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  4. How large are those bao? At $7/$9, I think they are a bit expensive. A Meat and Bread sandwich is $9!

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    1. They're on the smaller side - you can probably finish them in 3-5 bites!! They are a bit pricey, and one definitely isn't filling enough haha! Most people I observed ordered a side to go with their bao! Meat & Bread sandwiches are better value! :)

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    2. The only $7 bao is the special YVR Bao, Anonymous.

      As per their website there are three baos that are $5 and three that are $6. The bigger sandwiches (not baos) cost a bit more ($10/$11):

      http://baodown.ninja/

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  5. I Bao'd today, woot !

    See my comments on Urbanspoon ......

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    1. Yayy you finally went!! :D

      Your reviews are so thorough - why aren't you a food blogger? ;)

      I wanted to try the two worlds collide hehe, the crispy pork belly sounds divine!! But sounds like they'll have to do some tweaking to the recipe!

      Aw, the flipside sounded so good, too bad it didn't live up to its description haha!! I agree - maybe if they used char siu it would make it alot better!!

      I am so going back for their kimchi fries - I've heard nothing but great things about it!!

      The bao combo sounds like a really good idea!! That way we won't have to spend $15+ just for a filling lunch!! You should tell them :D

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    2. Oh no, another encouragement for me to blog on my own, hehe ! I've had many requests for that over the years. Not in the plans right now, but never say never, eh ? ;-)

      My words on US (you can delete my short post above, or replace with this):

      I've been anticipating my first meal at BD for weeks even before they opened. Well this week I did it, and was super glad (other than the day being super rainy wet and I parked several blocks away).

      I had the 2 Worlds Collide, the Flipside and a 1/2 order of the kimchi fries. First up was the 2WC. Mmmm ! Super tender, melt-in-mouth piece of pork belly, in a marriage of [quote from BD's website] "ahoi sin [sic] glaze, fresh jalapeño, scallions and gochujang". Actually I never detected the jalapeno (and if I did I would have took it out as I don't like them anyway) nor the gochukiang (which I do like). Loved the juxtaposition of the piece of crunchy crispy pork belly. And the bao ..... very pillowy soft and luscious. BUT there was simply too much hoisin sauce in the mix which not only made everything taste too salty, but also threatened to soggy up the bottom of the bao and make it split open at the bottom (which I prevented by keeping my fingers down there). Overall it was very good but could use some fine tuning.

      The Flipside was less successful. The pork shoulder was accompanied by crispy garlic, pickled onions and a shoyu fish sauce dressing. Which sounds good except the pork was chewy and somewhat rubbery. Not pleasant when trying to "wrestle" with it to bite off while you're holding onto the rest of the soft, almost delicate bao. I would have much preferred if this was a large piece of flavorful CHA SIU (Chinese BBQ pork) ..... now that would be awesome.

      The kimchi fries was quite good, 'tho. The mix of kennebec potato fries, pork belly sisig, chicharon, sweet soy, crispy garlic, bean sprouts, garlic scape mayo and scallions all worked well. No complaints there.

      Both baos were actually bigger than I expected, which helped alleviate the sticker shock a bit (my lunch was $17 with no beverage). Would I go back ? ....... yes. Would I order the Flipside again ...... NO. I'd try the Jaws and Bao Chicka Bao Bao next time.

      One suggestion I have for them: create 2-bao or 3-bao combos with kimchi fries and a drink to tame the high prices.

      I actually chatted for awhile with Greg the co-owner after my lunch. He seems like a really nice guy, took the time to listen to my comments/suggestions, which included my pleading for him to make a true Taiwanese Gua Bao (pork belly, preserved mustard greens, crushed peanuts, cilantro). He said it's in the works (!) and also told me he has some other new ideas coming down the pipeline (I won't give them away here, but they are awesome). He also mentioned going to New York (Flushing) to check out Bauhaus and Eddie Huang to see how they operate.

      http://scoutmagazine.ca/2015/02/20/diner-gastown-eatery-bao-down-coming-soon-to-the-old-lily-maes-spot-on-powell-st/

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1svenOsP3g

      .

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    3. Ah yes!! Can't believe they're coming out with an "actual" Taiwanese gua bao!! I'll have to go and see how it stacks up! :D


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  6. BD got two new baos (see their FB page):

    1) KObao: beef short rib, sesame, bean sprouts & sweet ginger shoyu
    2) FLY Kauai: ‎coconut‬ & rice crusted ‪‎scallops‬ w/roast‬ ‪pineapple‬ ‎spicy‬ gochujung mayo micro‬ cilantro‬

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    1. Ah those sound amazing!! Are you planning on going back to try some of their other baos? :D

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    2. Quite possibly next week ........

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    3. Let me know how you like 'em!! :D

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