I came across a photo of Bao Down Snack Bar’s chicken and waffles and rounded up my co workers to go for lunch even though it was a bit of a walk from our office. They don’t have the chicken and waffles for lunch but they did have a similar fried chicken dish.
Bao Down Snack Bar is the third restaurant that spawned from their first venture in Gastown and actually, this location is literally around the corner from the first location! Lunch hours start at 12pm and we were their first customers. It wasn’t busy at all when I was there but they do take reservations.
There are two floors and they have a funky graffiti colour scheme going on and the space is really bright and open due to the high ceiling and large windows.
Instead of the steamed baos that Bao Down is known for, they have EmBAOnadas here which are deep fried buns instead. The emBAOnadas are a bit smaller than their steamed counterparts and cost $5-6. This was my co worker’s bun so I forgot what the filling was but I think it was pork? You will definitely need more than one of these to fill you up! Or 3… It’s more of a snack for sure.
For myself, I had the Freedom with pulled pork lechon, sweet and sour sauce, pickled mustard greens, cane vinegar and rice. Don’t be fooled, there’s actually a ton of rice here and the bowl is really deep! Interestingly enough, they used wild rice. Maybe they should mention it on the menu. The pulled pork was really cooked down and super soft, almost sauce-like. Every bite was flavourful.
The rice itself was more firm in texture (similar to brown rice) and didn’t have much flavour so it also required the addition of their special house made garlic vinegar concoction. The sweet and sour flavours complimented the savoury flavours from the pork and also, I just really needed more sauce for the rice since I wasn’t used to the texture and taste.
The GFC was a popular choice at our table and came with 3 pieces of Adobo fried chicken, Adobo glaze, pickled papaya, sweet potato fries, banana sauce, G-mayo, Asian slaw and rice. It’s gluten free as well so it’s nice that they can cater to people who are gluten intolerant or have Celiac disease. This was an impressive looking plate and you won’t want to miss out on this if you like fried chicken! Okay I only tried one piece so that’s as far as my commentary can go but it had a nice crunch, flavourful seasoning and it wasn’t dry. I also loved that it came with sweet potato fries! I have a huge weakness for sweet potato fries. In fact, I started making my own “healthy” version by baking them in the oven.
The GFC also came with wild rice on the side as well.
If you’re still hungry, you can order a side of Lumpia (Filipino spring roll) for $5. I thought the portion was too small for $5 but I think I’m comparing it to Vietnamese spring rolls…I didn’t try this.