A Culinary Legacy
For seven illustrious years, the streets of Provenza echoed with the tantalizing aromas emanating from Bao Bei, a beacon of contemporary Asian cuisine. This establishment, founded by the dynamic duo Ian Delfín and Nataly Montoya, has been the heart and soul of authentic Asian flavors in Medellín.
The Winds of Change
The vibrant neighborhood of Provenza, known for its bustling eateries and vibrant nightlife, has seen a surge in rental prices. This surge has affected many, and Bao Bei is no exception. The exponential increase in their rental fee, from a substantial $3,400,000 to a staggering $7,000,000, has been the primary catalyst for their decision to close doors.
While commercial leasing does allow for fee increments post the two-year mark, such hikes are expected to be mutually agreed upon. In the absence of an agreement, a fee regulation process is initiated. However, for Ian and Nataly, the emotional and financial strain led them to choose a different path.
Beyond the Kitchen: A Community’s Love
The imminent closure of Bao Bei has been met with an outpouring of support from the community. Their success was evident from the queues outside their restaurant, and the news of their departure has left many heartbroken. Offers of assistance, from helping find a new location to sharing potential leads, have flooded in, showcasing the deep-rooted love for Bao Bei.
The Journey of Bao Bei
After settling in Medellín post their stint in the Philippines, Ian, with his culinary prowess, and Nataly, with her indomitable spirit, identified a gap in the city’s food scene. They envisioned a place that went beyond the typical sushi and rice dishes, and thus, Bao Bei was born.
Starting with a modest loan and immense passion, they introduced Medellín to the delights of ramen and baos. Their menu, a tapestry of flavors from Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and Taiwan, became an instant hit. Over the years, they expanded their offerings, importing unique spices and ingredients to ensure authenticity.
Their commitment to quality was evident in every aspect of their business. From upgrading their kitchen equipment to ensure a comfortable dining experience to dedicating hours to perfecting their recipes, Ian and Nataly’s dedication was unparalleled.
The Essence of Bao Bei
The name ‘Bao Bei’ is a testament to the restaurant’s essence. Translating to ‘small bread’ in Chinese, it also resonates with affection, akin to ‘my love’. But beyond its literal meaning, Bao Bei was truly a ‘little treasure’ for Medellín.
A Culinary Love Tale
Ian and Nataly’s journey is not just about food; it’s a tale of love. Their paths crossed in the United States, where their shared passion for cooking ignited a romance. From working together on a cruise line to tying the knot in the Philippines, their bond has only grown stronger. Nataly’s admiration for Ian’s culinary skills and Ian’s love for Nataly and the shared culture of Medellín and his homeland are the foundation of their partnership.
While Bao Bei’s physical presence in Provenza might be coming to an end, its legacy will undoubtedly live on. The flavors, memories, and love that Ian and Nataly infused into every dish will forever remain etched in the hearts of many.