The quizzically-named Village by the Grange is a slightly scuzzy, oft overlooked mall pinned smack dab in the city centre. Filled with students from neighbouring OCAD, alongside some elderly types keenly waiting for their AGO night classes to begin, the mall is well worth a visit for those seeking out cheap and tasty eats. Mean Bao stands in the main food court’s light-filled environs, easy to locate thanks to a snaking line and a stall papered with various accolades that have been littering the internet.
The steamed sammies are a food court standout. A neat set of six staple bao options are offered and specials hop on and off of the menu. Silken buns hug creative centres which pickpocket from different cuisines. We opted for a bao trio, which tallies up to under $15 for a decent meal. Pulled pork is paired with apple slaw and red cabbage; a vegan pick matches tofu with a slab of enoki shrooms and is finished with carrot sesame satay sauce; and the jerk chicken special nods to Jamaica’s most famed food, and comes with coleslaw and matchstick cukes.
Each bao comes dolled up with cilantro and a smattering of crushed peanuts for crunch. Scarf down quick before they cool.
Mean Bao, 275 Dundas St. W., 416-850-5616