Miss Bāo Restaurant + Cocktail Bar: Kingston’s First Zero Waste Restaurant!

By Lindy Mechefske

At 286 Princess Street, just down from The Hub and headed towards Sydenham Street, a quiet little revolution is underway in the guise of a remarkable restaurant – Miss Bāo Restaurant + Cocktail Bar – the brainchild of a pair of Queen’s University graduates: an engineer (her); and mathematician (him).

She is Bellen Tong: a biomechanical engineer and chef trained at the prestigious George Brown Culinary School in Toronto. He is Zach Fang, a math whiz and banker. They come from the opposite sides of vast Northern China, but they met at the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario. Bellen and Zach are partners in life and business and co-founders of Miss Bāo. Bellen is the restaurant’s operation manager and Zach is the project coordinator.

A sneak peek to what’s coming to Kingston

Miss Bāo Restaurant + Cocktail Bar brings something brand new to Kingston. Not only is the restaurant a fusion of cultures and ideas; of countries and cuisines; of art and science; of ancient and modern; of locally sourced ingredients and imported revolutionary state-of-the-art composting technology, but perhaps most importantly of all, Miss Bāo Restaurant + Cocktail Bar will be a 100% zero waste operation. They are the first independent restaurant in Ontario to use a remarkable on-site-in-vessel composter to tackle food waste, making Miss Bāo a true leader in the sustainability revolution.

Miss Bāo takes its name from one of Bellen’s culinary specialities: bāo, a traditional Northern Chinese dish, now famous the world over, which is one of the mainstays of the restaurant’s menu.


Bāo, also known as baozi or steamed buns, are tender, savoury, delicious dumplings encased in a soft, bread-like dough and steamed in bamboo baskets. The most traditional bāo are filled with fragrant steamed pork and just a hint of scallion. Miss Bāo Restaurant dishes up everything from traditional pork and beef steamed dumplings, to Peking Duck bāo, and vegetarian and vegan options including “ vegan Szechuan “pork” bāo.” The vegan ‘pork’, is made from banana peels: an ingredient most of us have entirely overlooked and tossed away our entire lives. How is this possible? According to Bellen, the banana skins are soaked immediately on peeling to avoid oxidation, then they are cooked over low heat for a very long time, and finally, they are seasoned to perfection. According to Bellen, “they are surprisingly delicious.”

Sakura Martini

The menu includes a variety of Asian fusion tapas with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as Asian inspired speciality cocktails including an entire cocktail series using Asian liquors as a base. The Sakura Martini, for example, features Nigori (a type of sake), dry vermouth, maraschino cherry syrup, and a salt pickled cherry blossom.

Spiked bubble tea with a shot of Earl Grey Infused Vodka

To meet their dream of creating a sustainable, zero-waste restaurant, Bellen and Zach implemented some simple things, such as using all the vegetable peelings to make homemade vegan stock. They also eliminated single-use plastic items, and eliminated or replaced ingredients that have non-compostable and non-recyclable packaging. In order to do this, they make such ingredients as ponzu, miso and pickles in-house, instead of purchasing commercially pre-made and pre-packaged versions.

Steamed pork scallop and prawn Shumai w red lumpfish caviar made in-house

More significantly though, Bellen and Zach implemented some impressive state-of-the-art green technology including a closed-loop vessel composter, imported from Korea and an Urban Cultivator® (essentially a fully contained, indoor gardening system), made in British Columbia.

The vessel composter grinds and breaks down all the restaurant’s food waste while controlling temperature and humidity, in order to create clean, nutrient-rich, odourless compost. Compost is used to grow vegetables onsite in the cultivator, thereby transforming what was food waste to a remarkable, nutrient rich food source. The first in Kingston, this large indoor gardening appliance allows the restaurant to produce all of its own microgreens onsite, and on full display to restaurant patrons.

Visit Miss Bāo Restaurant + Cocktail Bar at 286 Princess Street and come be part of the sustainability revolution!

Japanese inspired chilled tofu with soy-ginger sauce

286 Princess Street, Kingston, ON

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Supplier List (more coming soon):
Pig and Olive Premium Meat
Local Growing Company
Findlay Foods (for sustainable fish and seafood)
Memorial Centre Farmers Market
Limestone Organic Creamery