December 10

Ba Bar Goes Green

A new outpost attached to a SLU favorite celebrates the flavors of Southeast Asia.

If you’d have asked Eric Banh ten years ago if he’d be involved in an all-vegan venture, he would have laughed in your face. Eric, who co-owns Saigon Siblings Restaurant Group with his sister Sophie, says he didn’t think it would be possible. “No one would eat there, and I don’t think it would have been viable.”

But times have changed. More and more diners are making conscious choices in what they eat, both for personal health and environmental reasons. The next logical step for restaurants, Eric explains, is more plant-focused menus. So he partnered with chef Chris Michel, who has been working in Saigon Sibling kitchens off and on for the past 10 years or so, with the launch of Ba Bar Green.

The new restaurant, which is actually a walkup window, is attached to the SLU location of Ba Bar. It serves up reimagined versions of Southeast Asian classic from laksa to kimchi fried rice, dan dan noodles, banh mi, and more. These are all made to go, but Eric and Chris welcome diners to pick up their orders from Ba Bar Green and stop into Ba Bar’s main dining room to enjoy a cocktail or cold beer with their food.

Restaurant walk up pick up window painted green.

Chris, who spent around seven months living and traveling around Southeast Asia researching and tasting, is keen on creating vegan flavors in house. “It was a long process, but we make vegan fish sauce, our own red curry paste, and vegan kimchi all in house. Many of those products typically have shellfish in them, and anything vegan sold in stores in that category just doesn’t taste great,” he says.

Vegan red curry noodle dish.

The goal for Chris in developing the menu at Ba Bar Green was to reimagine what Asian vegan food could be. That meant taking favorites like kimchi fried rice or dan dan noodles and working backwards to reinvent them. Take laksa, for example. This Malaysian coconut curry soup is typically made with a broth that includes chicken and curry that has shrimp paste in it. But the version at Ba Bar Green is all vegan and full of rice noodles, kabocha squash, and sweet potatoes. If you want to know what a warm hug tastes like, order the laksa at this new spot.

Put an end to the idea of “no meat, no meal” at Ba Bar Green. The window featuring some of the best vegan food in the neighborhood (and maybe Seattle) is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 8pm.

Story by Ethan Chung & photographs courtesy of Ba Bar.

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