A new Asian street food truck which opened in Sutton Harbour this summer is already proving a popular draw for many visitors to Plymouth’s waterfront.
Barbican Bao has set up in Quay Square on the historic harbourside overlooking Sutton Harbour Marina to create an exciting new food offering for Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City. The owners are a young couple from Devon with great enthusiasm for Asian cuisine, and have been delighted with the positive response they’ve received since their bao buns business launched.
Renowned for being light and fluffy, the bao bun was first created in China before being adopted in Taiwan, later becoming a popular dish globally, and including a variety of hot fillings.
Barbican Bao co-owner Lucie Dennis said: “We were delighted to discover this pitch in Sutton Harbour was available, right on the harbourside, so we jumped on the bao-band wagon and very quickly realised that Plymouth didn’t really have anything similar to what we offer in terms of food experience. We wanted to bring something to the city that the rest of the UK is enjoying right now, and that is bao buns.
“It’s been really well received, even on our first day we had return customers which is a really good sign. We’ve never done anything like this before, although we have worked in hospitality in the past. The business all came together quite organically and we’re fully immersed in it now, it’s going really well.
“Sutton Harbour is such a beautiful part of Plymouth and we’re so blessed to come and work here every day, it’s such beautiful scenery and very attractive. You can understand why tourists love coming here because it is a very scenic part of Plymouth.”
Bao buns are commonly filled with pork, however as the bao bun has become more popular worldwide, fillings have become more diverse.
Bearing this in mind when planning their menu, Lucie explained: “We decided to opt for more of a pan-Asian cuisine offering because we wanted to cater to a broad range of palettes for food and flavour. We have some Korean options, some more traditional Hirata buns, some Japanese teriyaki and many more.
“We also feature equal options for vegans as well as meat eaters because I feel that Plymouth is try hard to push for vegan options, but there’s still a way to go in offering a broad vegan range of foods. We want to make the experience of eating out for people who are vegan just as enjoyable for people who eat meat.”
On the menu at Barbican Bao are a range of bao buns with fillings including Korean pulled beef, Barbecue char sui pork, teriyaki mushroom (vegan) or bang bang seitan (vegan), with fresh Asian slaw, pickled radish and your choice of toppings and sauces. Barbican Bao also serves a variety of refreshments to wash down your buns.
Lucie and her partner are also branching out and trying out some sweet bao buns for customers who may have already eaten dinner but are looking for a light dessert or something sweet as a snack.
With the environment at the forefront of their decision-making, Lucie and her partner have limited the amount of plastic they use at Barbican Bao. Buns are presented in a recyclable cardboard container, and forks are made from potato starch. Drink bottles and cartons are all recyclable, with a recycling bin provided on site.
Customers can enjoy this unique food experience with seating available in Quay Square around the food truck, directly facing Plymouth’s picturesque waterfront, and Barbican Bao is open Monday-Saturday, 12pm until late.
Philip Beinhaker, Executive Chairman of Sutton Harbour Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Barbican Bao to Sutton Harbour and believe it will offer something different and unique for visitors to Plymouth’s historic waterfront. Sutton Harbour has already established a strong reputation for its acclaimed food and drink scene and Barbican Bao is an excellent new addition to the offering in the heart of Britain’s Ocean City.”