Filipino cuisine is making its way to the top of the tastebuds of many foodies. This Hello Kitty Foodie is constantly in awe of all the amazing Pinoy offerings that are popping up every where! On my recent trip to San Francisco, I had the chance to checkout a newly opened gastropub specializing in Asian fusion food with touches of Hawaiian, Thai and Filipino flavors.
Located on Bush Street, next to Executive Hotel Vintage Court is Bao Down. It is the former location of Masa’s and All Spice and now is home to this Pan Asian Fusion food restaurant. This is Bao Down’s owners Greg Edwards and Marvin Agustin’s first US location. The original Bao Down is in Vancouver, Canada.
Walking in, I was instantly mesmerized with the colorful and bright murals that are on Bao Down’s walls. I learned these colored murals were painted by Japanese-Canadian street artist Taka Sudo. He had also created similar murals for Bao Down’s Vancouver locations.
Just as creative as the murals is Bao Down’s menu offerings. It’s a traditional Asian food with a bit of pizazz and each dish has unique and flavorful ingredients.
I started off my meal here with one of their steamed baos. This place after all is called Bao Down and it seemed only appropriate that I try one of their signature bao dishes. I chose to try the Big Bang bao.
The Big Bang bao consists of lechon kawali, carrots, daikon and Filipino sweet and sour sauce. Upon first bite, I could understand it’s name right away. It indeed made quite a bang for my tastebuds. From the soft outside bun to the crunchy lechon inside, it was amazingly delicious. The Filipino sweet and sour sauce brought out so much flavorful to this tender bao.
Up next, I tried one of their popular small plates, the West Coast Lumpia.
Lumpia is one of my favorite Filipino dishes ever and thus I was quite intrigued to see Bao Down’s take. The West Coast Lumpia was filled with chicken, water chestnut, pickled vegetable and crispy noodles. I love how this starter was served piping hot. It was fried to perfect golden brown. The thin, crisp outside gave a nice crackling crunch at every bite.
For my main entree, I chose the beef rib kare kare.
Kare Kare, similar to lumpia, is one of my all time favorite Filipino dishes. I have to say though that Bao Down’s Kare Kare makes it to the top of the most unique Filipino Kare Kare dishes I have ever tried. Their version consists of 36oz angus beef short rib, crispy garlic annatto-peanut sauce, crispy shanghai bok chow and XXXO sauce. The angus beef short rib was gigantic and serving wise this could be good for four people! It was also super tender and one flick of a fork, the meat would come off the bone. The beef short rib was definitely a winner but one of the things I absolutely loved about this dish was the crispy shanghai bok choy! I was such a fan of their tempura bok choy. The buttery batter went well with the other savory sauces of this dish. This Hello Kitty Foodie bows down to this dish from Bao Down. 😉
With the rise in popularity of Filipino food in the United States, it is not surprising to see a place like Bao Down in San Francisco. I am happy to see them offering Filipino dishes with a special fusion flair. With their creative dishes and unique take, Bao Down takes Filipino cuisine to a whole new level.
For more smiles, please see my Yelp Review on Bao Down.