Bao Shoppe – A Salty Asian Soul Food Serenade

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Since I’m (kind of) Asian, I’m just predisposed to seeking out semi-Asian sources of food. One such source became my visit to Bao Shoppe, a casual cafe-like spot that felt vaguely like upscale truck food.

Ambiance – Fair, but really, can't you do better?

Bao Shoppe has a street/urban-like vibe, what with its graffiti featuring the N train and industrial tubing across the ceiling. There’s a glass display case with various trendy toys in one corner, which to me looks a bit haphazard.

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Bao Shoppe has a metro, streetstyle vibe.

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Random comic-art awaesomesauce

Overall, not the coziest place. It’s more of an eat-and-flee type of establishment. When we ate, there was a WWE wrestling match being loudly played on the flat screen TV mounted on the wall which we asked to have turned down. Yes, I’m fussy. No, I don’t give a damn.

Service – Fair, but really, can't you do better?

The counter boys were nice enough. You retrieve your food at the counter, and that’s that. The cashier was quite knowledgeable about all the vegan options and knew about kimchi/mayo not being vegan, which I appreciated. Their kimchi is made in-house.

Shoppe Fries – 4 carrots Near Confection Perfection

If you’re looking for healthy vegan food, this is not the right place for you. But Bao Shoppe makes a mean “vegan animal style” fries, as I’d like to label these ridonkulously yummy taters.

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Waaay better than Pomme Frites!

The fries, which are crispy and soft with the right amount of oil, are topped with spicy vegan mayo, BBQ sauce, pickled daikon and fresh scallions. The combination lent the fries a spicy/sweet/salty flavor profile. It’s not that common to find fries with toppings that are 100% vegan, so I’m pegging this place as my new go-to when I’m hankering for fries.

Vegan Delight Bao Box – 3.5 carrots

A smorgasbord of mushrooms, kimchi-fried rice and two playing-card sized tofu pieces, this flavor-packed dish was also a bit too salty for my taste. The rice was loaded with salt, so much so that I gulped down water just to dilute it. Not a great experience.

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Saltylicking good — could do without the unnecessary sodium though!

I did enjoy the dish as an overall concept, though. Hopefully they add more tofu pieces in the future, because two measly pieces just isn’t enough for $8.95, though it was a fairly priced meal for the overall portion size.

Passion Fruit Green Tea – 2.5 carrots

Your typical syrupy sweet drink: loaded with artificial flavor and sugar. You get what you pay for! Comparable to Coco/Chatime/Kung Fu boba fruit tea drinks/ Mayhaps they have the same suppliers?

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It even has the fobby-cute cartoon character cup!

Overall score – 3.5 carrots

One line rhyme-mary: Salty rice isn’t quite as nice, though does it matter if your wallet’s fatter?

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