(Image: Jackie Pal)
Name: Mean Bao
Neighbourhood: Queen West
Contact Info: 416-862-7737, 167 Bathurst St., meanbaotoronto.com
Previously: A short-lived burger shop called Burger Press
Chefs/Owners: Both the original location and this new outpost are co-owned by Jones and James Cheung, along with their nephew and niece Scott Ching and Erin Cheung. Everyone plays a role in the family business, including grandma.
The Food: Silky bao are piled with savoury ingredients, like peppery barbecue chicken with pickled daikon, or house-braised pork belly topped with a crunchy mixture of peanuts and black sugar. The “Sloppy Jones” is a bao-ified version of dan dan mien, a traditional Szechuan noodle dish made with minced pork, chili oil and scallions.
The Drinks: The soda selection includes highly coveted bottles of Schweppes Cream Soda, imported all the way from Hong Kong. (Co-owners Scott and Erin have fond memories of chugging back bottles while visiting their grandmother there.)
The Place: Mean Bao’s second location is a casual grab-and-go counter with a handful of bar stools for dining in. The mainly DIY design includes a classic peg-board menu and a self-serve saucing station stocked with interesting vinegars and hot sauces.
301945 The restaurant is located on Bathurst Street, just south of Queen West. (Image: Jackie Pal) https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-01-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-01.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-01.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-01/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-01 0 0
(Image: Jackie Pal)
301946 Co-owners Scott Ching and Erin Cheung hand-made the marquee sign. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-02-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-02.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-02.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-02/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-02 0 0
301947 The restaurant has a handful of bar stools for eat-in customers. When the dim-sum steamer's going full throttle, it’s a pretty cozy space. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-03-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-03.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-03.jpg 667 1001  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-03/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-03 0 0
301952 https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-08-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-08.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-08.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-08/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-08 0 0
301948 Here's a selection of sandwiches. The buns are made for Mean Bao by a baker in Taiwan. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-04-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-04.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-04.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-04/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-04 0 0
301951 A vegan bao comes stuffed with tofu, enoki mushrooms, cabbage and carrots ($3.45). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-07-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-07.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-07.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-07/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-07 0 0
301950 The pork belly bao is flavoured with hoisin sauce and topped with a crunchy mixture of black sugar and crushed peanuts ($3.60). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-06-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-06.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-06.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-06/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-06 0 0
301949 Barbecue chicken is topped with slivered red pepper and pickled yellow daikon ($3.45). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-05-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-05.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-05.jpg 667 1001  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-05/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-05 0 0
301953 Baskets of dim sum are steamed to order. The shumai (pork dumplings) are topped with masago, a bright orange fish roe (four pieces for $3.80). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-09-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-09.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-09.jpg 667 1001  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-09/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-09 0 0
301955 In this vegan dish, sautéed veggies are stuffed in hollowed-out tofu squares and steamed to order (six pieces for $6.50). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-11-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-11.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-11.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-11/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-11 0 0
301954 Bottles of Schweppes Cream Soda are imported from Hong Kong ($2.25). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-10-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-10.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-10.jpg 667 1001  https://torontolife.com/food/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants/slide/mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-10/ mean-bao-toronto-restaurants-10 0 0
6 thoughts on “Introducing: Mean Bao, the Chinatown bao shop’s new Queen West location”
Is this the same person at CNE this year? The name was ‘East end’ or something. Tasted good but seriously, service sucks. I saw owner throwing change and yelling at a customer. I would never go to this place if this is own by same owner from CNE.
I do not believe they are the same… the CNE one is korean owned…
Hi Gloria: yeah its the same owners. I noticed the help. That being said..its not properly priced for what you get…Way too many “veggies” or fluff as I call it which totally overtakes the meat/sauce ratio….
Is it the same Mean Bao located in Village by the Grange? If so this place is my favourite. Great boa’s and dim sum!!!
I don’t believe they are the same Gloria – I think their only other location is the one in Village by the Grange.
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