Everyone has a guilty pleasure. Be it a TV show, a band or as it is in my case, food. I thrive off the thrill and excitement of trying new things but sometimes a girl just wants something fast, uncomplicated and satisfying – food wise. Ladies and gentleman, I confess to you all that one of my guilty pleasures is the Big Mac. I can’t help it. Once I get the thought of having a Big Mac in my head its almost impossible for me not to indulge. So you can understand the pure joy that came over me when I found out that the signature item at Lucky Red was a Big Mac bao.
My favourite “foodie” work friends and I took off one evening to explore the delicacies available at Lucky Red, the newest snack bar from Banh mi Boys brothers David, Phil and Peter Chau. This is actually the restaurant’s second kick at the can since their original opening back in September 2014. The owners admit that they rushed the concept in a time where the dining scene in Chinatown is redefining itself. They re-opened in April 2015 focusing on classic Korean/Vietnamese bar snacks and cocktails. It’s time to get Lucky!
Its a small place mostly with high top and low tables as well as bar seating. The theme/decor is quite eclectic with inspiration from Chinese culture through the red accents and a mural featuring characters from the Chinese Zodiac. We were a group of 7 so we snagged one of the high top tables which was snug but worked out perfectly.
The team that makes the magic happen!
First order of business – drinks! After reading the cocktail list I swear I could have tried every single one! Instead out of the 7 of us we had these lovely concoctions.
I stuck to the T-Hawk (obviously) and although not super strong it was deliciously refreshing. Now onto the important stuff – the food! What I love most about going out with this group of people is their passion for eating. There are no holds barred and believe it or not we pretty much ordered everything on the menu which is small so not a difficult feat.
Soi Mung Rice Balls
Pork Belly Bao
Bo Tai Chanh (Tartar)
First up were the Soi Mung Rice Balls which I didn’t get a picture of unfortunately. If you can imagine an Asian version of an Arancini but slightly smaller that’s what I would describe these as. They sat in a bed of a creamy sauce which was avocado based and from what I remember just slightly spicy.
The Nacho Koreano were one of my favourite dishes of the night. They were made up of crispy wontons topped with a Kimchi Salsa – pork, scallions, kimchi, gochujang and a little bit of cheese. Every bite was a little bit savoury, tangy and sweet. I could have easily had this dish to myself.
Next up the baos. We ordered the Pork Belly and the Big Mac Bao which they obviously can’t officially call it on the menu but we all know the deal. The pork belly came out first. The soft steamed buns sandwiched a pretty thick slice of pork belly topped with green onions, cucumbers and peanuts. Delicious but I think I’ve decided that pork belly is not my thing. I can see the appeal but its a little too fatty tasting for my palate.
The Big Mac Bao however. Oh em gee. It tasted EXACTLY like a Big Mac except even better because they use Kalbi beef along with all the traditional toppings – secret sauce, lettuce, onions, cheese and pickles. I had two and part of me wanted a third.
The last couple of dishes were okay, nothing spectacular but not awful either. The Lucky Wings I also didn’t get a picture of but nothing special to report back, just your standard wings. The Bo Tai Chanh was their version of a beef tartar. Not my go-to dish but this one was really good. The beef was perfect in that it had a good texture, not too mushy and actually had some flavour to it. My peeps seem to really enjoy it.
Next up were the Shaking Beef and Duck Gravy Poutine. The Shaking Beef was one of those dishes that I saw a picture of on Lucky Red’s Instagram account and it looked REALLy delicious. In real life again it was just okay. Chunks of grilled beef tossed with what I would guess is soya sauce, red wine vinegar, scallions and then topped with deep fried onion rings.
The Duck Gravy Poutine was an Eastern take on the traditional poutine made up of spicy fries, duck gravy, crispy duck skin, cheese curd and kimchi. I think I might have been too full by the time this came out because I had about three fries and was over it. It could have been good but I don’t think I had enough of it to make a fair opinion.
So the biggest debate of the evening was the comparison between Lucky Red and Oddseoul. Everyone at the table had been to Oddseoul and I hadn’t so I unfortunately couldn’t make the comparison. Although the food at Lucky Red was great the overall consensus was that Oddseoul was better. And they too have their own Big Mac Bao. Oh boy. So needless to say I will have to make my way to Oddseoul soon so that I can make and educated comparison. But the verdict on Lucky Red – super cute and I would totally stop in during their Happy Hour (5-7pm) and have a beer, Big Mac Bao and Nacho Koreano.
Discover Lucky Red: