Mean Bao started out as a little take-out place in Village by the Grange – the more than decent student food court at OCAD.
The word of mouth for this Chinese place started to grow massively since opening, and so they realized it is was time to give more than just students the opportunity to indulge in their steamed sammies.
Opening up shop at Queen and Bathurst, they’re hoping to break the streak of short-lived eateries at 167 Bathurst,
And if anyone can do it, it’s Mean Bao.
The new location is also a take-out spot, but you can snag a little table and stool if you’re there when it’s not busy.
The menu is slightly different from their flagship location, but bao is of course still the focus – with pork belly, braised beef, chicken, pulled pork, and tofu and enoki mushroom options. The house specialty is called a ‘sloppy jones’, and if you’re passionate about how your bao was dressed at the Grange location, you can always ask them to ‘grange’ your bao. Translation: dress it up with pickled daikon, carrots, red pepper and cucumber.
Priced around $3.50 a bao, you’ll be coming back to try them all.
Besides the bao, they also have sui mai, shrimp and pork dumplings, tofu pockets, and an interesting sticky quinoa option wrapped in lotus leaf, mixed with white and brown rice, and filled with chicken, sausage, scallions, mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
Drink options are curated to highlight the menu, including Asian sodas, coconut water, and Urban Zen aloe teas.
With nothing over $6.50 on the menu, the growing trend of affordable cheap eats in the neighbourhood is something to help brighten up an otherwise cold and dreary lunch trip. The days of sticking with boring Subway sub-of-the-day options are looking slim, and we’re pretty okay with that.
Plus, if you download the Paypal app, you can get $5 off your order – so you can basically try it for free.