Bao Down is often bustling with customers who are drawn in by the restaurant’s trendy space and fusion menu offerings. We visited Bao Down’s West 2nd Avenue location (there is a second location in Gastown) and sampled a wide variety of dishes from the lunch menu.
Bao Down is best known for its steamed bao, which are packed with unique combinations of colourful ingredients and served on a delicious, cushiony bun. Our favourite bao was the Kare Bear, which features beef short ribs and a large piece of tempura bok choy in a peanut sauce. The YVR is a fresh and flavourful bao that comes with sesame-seared albacore tuna served with wasabi mayo and sweet sauce. On our next visit, we would like to try the Bao Chicka Bao Bao. This popular bao is served with garlic and lemongrass fried chicken, daikon, carrot, fish sauce glaze, and garlic scape mayo.
Bao Down’s lunch menu also offers lighter fare. The vegetarian Singapore Slaw is a mountain of crisp vegetables—taro, carrot, cucumber, bean sprouts, jicama, and sunflower sprouts—served with rice noodles and accented with peanuts, Thai basil, and mint, all tossed in a delicious umeboshi vinaigrette. The Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl is a generous serving of fresh and buttery Ahi Tuna surrounded by vegetables on a bed of white rice.
Bao Down uses only Ocean Wise certified seafood and sources locally grown vegetables whenever possible. The prices are reasonable—most lunch items range from $12 to $20—and the portions are generous. Half servings are available for most dishes, making it possible for diners to try a few different menu items. Bao Down is worth a visit for its unique take on pan-Asian food. It is a great spot to grab lunch, or a bite to eat on a night out in Olympic Village.
Bao Down Gastropub + Raw Bar
115 West 2nd Avenue