Having grown up on Chinese food at home myself, my take on Bao Bei is that it serves the familiar foods you had at home, but magically made more interesting and tasty. It makes other Chinese restaurants look like lazy home-style. It's like everything had a something-extra something-special treatment.
Portions are small for price, so if you want any chance of actually walking out of there full at $25+ per person (that's not including drinks), get the fried rice.
bean curd skin ($5.50) king oyster mushroom, chili ginger vinaigrette
- Looks pricey for a portion that fits into an egg, but that vinaigrette makes it tasty. More like an appetite whetting nibble.
beef tartare ($18) Cache Creek flat iron steak, preserved mustard root, crispy shallot,
ginger, quail egg, watercress, burnt scallion oil, taro chips
- Mix and put on chips to carry it to your mouth. TIP: Ask for more taro chips.
- Strangely tasty!
- The "flat iron steak" part might throw you off thinking it's a cooked slab of steak but that's just the cut of where the beef comes from. Steak tartare of course starts with raw meat.
mantou ($10) steamed bun, coconut curry braised beef, fukujinzuke pickles, cilantro,
crispy garlic & crushed peanut
- Two smallish buns but not skimpy on stuffing.
- More interesting that just stewed beef in a bun. Interesting flavours but something about it came out bland-ish. Might need to eat this slowly and mindfully to get the full flavour experience.
- Price is OK and actually comparable to the more casual fast-food-ish Bao Down.
kick ass house fried rice ($17) marinated red prawns, clam & jamón sofrito, crispy ginger, black bean, pimenton, fennel, red pepper
- Packed with stuff and the fattest prawns I've seen in Chinese-style fried rice anywhere.
Overall, tasty food but pretty pricey as dinners go. Even the rice is pricey but at least it's fully loaded.