Filipino-Canadian mompreneurs wow crowd with baos in Ontario

Mississauga, Ontario

Pop up store draws lines of bao lovers

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Over the weekend, bao lovers lined up to taste the Filipino hand-made bao buns at the Food District in Square One mall.

The mompreneur tandem of Niña Abacan-Galarde and Elizabeth Buenaventura, owners of Bao Mama, were overwhelmed when they sold out their baos during the event. 

Elizabeth Buenaventura (left) and Niña Abacan-Galarde are introducing their home-made buns in Ontario. (screen grab from ABS-CBN News)

“Before we get caught up on the busy-ness of our last day,  we want to THANK YOU WESTSIDE/WESTEND… thank you Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville…etc. Wherever you reside… We feel the love! It has been our absolute pleasure serving you all here @shopfooddistrict @shopsquareone,” Bao Mama’s Facebook page read.

They started as a home-based catering business in Oshawa in 2021 but soon opened a restaurant in Scarborough at Morningside Avenue and Sheppard Avenue. 

They later moved to 4419 Sheppard Ave. E. (Brimley Road and Sheppard Avenue).

Bao Mama, in its Facebook page, said they chose Mississauga for their first pop up in a major city because they have many customers who travel to Scarborough from Mississauga to enjoy their hand-made bao buns that showcase their passion for food and the amazing Filipino and Asian flavors.

Buenaventura, who is in charge of the business aspect, is thankful for the support they have been receiving. 

“We both really wanted come up with a product that would appeal to the masses. We can put the amazing flavours and textures of Filipino food in this warm, welcoming and pillowy soft bao. I think we’re the only restaurant right now doing it,” she said in an ABS-CBN News interview. 

Abacan-Galarde, a Red Seal chef in Alberta, is mixing her training in western cuisine with her Asian roots to come up with the menu. 

“I know a lot of people like sandwiches, tacos, why not bao? I always call it an open siopao,” she said of their product. 

She said that what make their bao special is that they make it from scratch and the sauces are also freshly made every day. 

Buenaventura said aside from the hard work of their team and their loyal customers, they are leaning on their faith for the success of the business.

 “We’ve been really praying about this, leaning on our faith, for people to be embracing this new concept of Filipino-Asian bao buns,” she added in the ABS-CBN report. 

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