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With its nostalgic feminine décor, youthful wait staff, and smart cocktail list, you may worry the food at Bao Bei is an afterthought. But sit down and you’ll hear the iron clanging of good wok technique coming from the kitchen, a harbinger of delicious things to come. Flavours are brightly balanced: crispy sesame shao bing is the perfect slider of lamb sirloin and cilantro crispy pork belly is smartly tamed with buttered pickled ramps and Vietnamese dressing preserved lemon, lime leaf, and chili give shrimp-paste lettuce wraps spicy Asian tartness and the seasonal ÒKick-Ass House Fried RiceÓ is flavourful yet feather light on the tongueÑthe mark of expert stir-frying. And for dessert, a floral Sichuan peppercorn mandarin sorbet is as artful as it is delicious. This is a true reflection of how Chinese food has matured in Vancouver.

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