Critically acclaimed street food restaurant to open second Belfast outlet

street food - bao bun - belfast

A second Taiwanese restaurant and a cafe are to join south Belfast’s hospitality venues if new planning applications get approval

A former hair salon on 338 Lisburn Road is to be converted into Belfast’s second Bao Bun restaurant, with an apartment on its upper floors.

And the Vape Lounge on Stranmillis Road will become an eco-friendly cafe if plans are approved.

Bao Bun, an independent Taiwanese street food restaurant/takeway, has received critical acclaim for its bao bun-based sandwiches since it launched in Botanic in 2017.

Now it is seeking to expand to Belfast’s Lisburn Road, just a few yards from The Chelsea Winebar.

It comes on the back of a surge in popularity for casual international dining here, which saw Mexican burrito chain Boojum cross into the Republic. It also set up shop on the Lisburn Road earlier this year. And family-run Tribal Burger has announced that it will open its second store in Belfast’s Callender Street soon, creating around 20 jobs.

Its owners, husband and wife team Paul and Elaine Catterson, opened their first outlet on Botanic Avenue at the end of 2017.

And on the Ormeau Road, Japanese noodle restaurant Bia Rebel Ramen is another success story in the sector after winning an award for ‘best cheap eats’ in the UK at the Observer Food Monthly Awards.

The award for the venue, which opened in March, was announced at a ceremony in London last month.

It is run by owner and chef Brian Donnelly and his partner Jenny Holland.

Meanwhile, in Stranmillis a former e-cigarette bar will get a hospitality conversion as an application reveals plans for a cafe on the site.

The focus of the new business will be to serve food with an emphasis on minimum waste and eco-friendliness, says the applicant, who has not been named.