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Mean Bao – 511 (Queen & Bathurst) – Review

I’ve been wanting to try Mean Bao for awhile now, ever since this second location opened up on Bathurst just south of Queen in 2014.  Since then, their baos have become so popular that a third location has opened up in Leslieville.  The one on Bathurst is mainly take out with a few bar stools that were empty at the time, so we opted to sit down. 

We sampled one of each dish on the small menu, starting with the baos of course!  The main attraction is the highlight of the night.  Silky, fluffy buns are filled with pork belly, cucumber and hoisin sauce, and the braised beef bao is topped with bok choy and Taiwanese pickles.  The meat is tender, and the simple toppings add a nice crunch for a well balanced bao bite!

Pork belly bao, Mean Bao

Pork belly bao, Mean Bao

I can never say “no” to dumplings, so of course we tried Mean Bao’s take on this classic.  These soft, lightly spiced shrimp and pork dumplings are packed to the brim with juicy flavour.  I have never seen such fat dumplings!  A mean and meaty mouthful for sure.

Pork and shrimp dumplings, Mean Bao

Pork and shrimp dumplings, Mean Bao

Finally we ordered the sticky quinoa.  A unique take on sticky rice, the quinoa is wrapped in a lotus leaf, and mixed with chicken, lap cheong (Chinese sausage) mushroom and topped with scallions and a salted duck egg.  Whoa!  Where did this salted duck egg come from, and how can I eat more of them?  A fusion of salty Asian flavours with just the right amount of richness, we totally devoured this dish.  I’m loving the use of quinoa instead of rice, because now I feel like I made a healthy choice, ha!

Sticky quinoa, Mean Bao

Sticky quinoa, Mean Bao

Reasonably priced, satisfying with a simple but interesting menu, Mean Bao lives up to their name, and a few other tasty dishes makes for an all round wicked meal.

If you’ve tried the Leslieville location, please comment below!