Bao Bros Pops Up at Red Velvet Cafe
Raymond Kim and Krizzia Yanga, partners of pop-up Bao Bros, are bringing traditional Taiwanese steam buns to Downtown Columbus.
The weekend pop-up operates out of Red Velvet Cafe, the small 246 S. 4th Street restaurant owned by Yanga. Gua bao, generally shortened to “bao,” is a taco-like street snack, usually consisting of steamed bread stuffed with pork belly.
“I fell in love with the entire concept of Taiwanese street food because its something so commonplace, yet it pulls so many different flavor profiles,” said Kim.
More specifically, it shows a few possibilities of the many different types of bao. The buns act as a vessel for dozens of different toppings – it’s just a matter of mixing, matching, and seeing what works well.
Kim and Yanga initially met while students at OSU. Both grew up in the restaurant industry, and conceived the idea for Bao Bros about a year ago. Bao Bros’ first test run was last fall, when Kim and Yanga ran the pop-up out of Kim’s family’s restaurant, Diaspora. The Diaspora operation took a short hiatus, due to school obligations and internships, reopening at Red Velvet Cafe this summer.
Their menu of the moment consists of two baos: the OG, braised pork (or rich pork belly) topped with cilantro, mustard greens, cucumber, and crushed peanuts; and the Bun Me is marinated chicken, pork pate, Vietnamese mayo, pickled daikon, carrots, cucumber and cilantro.
Yanga and Kim are trying to raise bao awareness and build a customer base. They’re currently experimenting with a Filipino-inspired bao, playing around with different recipes for future menu items.
At the moment, they’ll possibly be expanding into Saturdays. As for expansion beyond a pop-up, a food cart may be their most feasible future option. Bao Bros is currently open every Friday, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. A single bao will run you $2.75, and a 3-pack $8.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BaoBrosCBus.