Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thumbs Down: Bao Bei


When the venerable Vancouver Slop posts are giving me props instead of giving me the proper piss-off, I've gots to worry. So who's to blame?

Bao Bei. Food aside, my general worry is that the place will end up filled with hipster folks that like the kitsch of drinking in Chinatown, under that same sort of logic that finds a LUXURY HOTEL halfway down the block. Does it make that Chinese beer go down easier if you're having it in a once thriving community that is at death's door and on it's way to gentrification?

But back on the food: I was hoping for some proper, upscale Chinese grub. It isn't a far-fetched idea that the people that invented paper, fireworks and the compass could somehow evolve past the point of eating only in overly bright, noisy and claustrophobic health hazards. So when you serve me sub-standard tea eggs - which you don't even really have to cook, so much as they just need to SOAK - and try to charge me $15 for a BBQ pork noodle, I've got to wonder who you're trying to kid. I'll pay $15 for a bowl of noodles if I can see that you've put some innovation and careful thought behind it (see BO Innovation in HK), but this ain't it.

The service ain't it either. When you've got a Caucasian server trying to correct my Chinese pronunciation (disclaimer: I am Chinese) and reminding me that congee is more of a 'breakfast thing,' and another server constantly bringing the wrong orders and giving me the stink-eye like it was my fault that I SAT SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN WHERE SHE TOOK HER OTHER FUCKING ORDER, that high price point just adds insult to injury.

So, I'm hoping it's all opening jitters or what not, because if this is what causes a rift between me and Vancouver Slop - a blog I adore so dearly - than I've got 99 problems and Bao Bei is at least 98 of them.


  1. Thanks for stopping by and giving that well articulated comment. That's pretty funny that the server tried to correct you on your Chinese and explaining congee.

    I made a note before that around here it's a North American take on Asian fusion, and not a from an'Asian' perspective. The NA version always seems too light and simple. If you go to places like Hong Kong or Malaysia, their fusion cuisine is sophisticated and complex.

    For really after a trip from Italy, would you go to Anton's or Anducci's say their Italian is still great?

    What baffles me about Bao Bei is that before opening they had a 'focus group' of friends and family trying out the food. Who was part of this group?

  2. Oh my goodness I just discovered your blog thru Sense and Style's Bao Bei post and I too, hold a similar sentiment. I love the concept of your blog! all thumbs down, brilliant. I'm going to continue to follow you for sure.