Behind The Scenes with Bamboo Asia at Bay Meadows

With Bamboo Asia on its way, we thought we’d catch up with the team to give you the behind the scenes scoop on what you can expect from the space, the cuisine and the culture. Collaborating with a culinary world vet and Top Chef-testant, you can expect some serious flavor from this spot! A unique food concept, offering three cuisines; Vietnamese, Japanese, and Indian, with fresh California ingredients, Bamboo Asia has already expanded to 4 locations across San Francisco and Oakland with its 5th location coming soon to San Mateo at Bay Meadows.

Bamboo Asia’s leadership team is a multi-cultural mix, representing Europe, Asia, and India. The original Founder and CEO, Sebastiaan Van De Rijt has a penchant for traveling, food, and exploring different cultures. While studying in China and traveling throughout Vietnam and Japan, he fell in love with Asian cuisine – tasting his way through vibrant food hawkers. In 2011, Sebastiaan decided to create an Asian food hawker-inspired fast casual brand, Bamboo Asia, and launched the first location in San Francisco’s Financial District.

“It was always our goal to expand throughout the Bay Area and beyond. When we visited Bay Meadows, we instinctively knew this was the perfect place to launch our 5th location. It’s such a beautiful area designed for people to dwell, eat and drink, and we’re excited to bring our diverse cuisine and fun vibes to the residents and office workers nearby. Our San Mateo location is especially unique and will be our largest flagship restaurant. Our interiors will feature a full bar, private dining room, dessert station, large dining hall, and colorful shophouse-style facades for each of our three cuisines. We’re also excited to offer outdoor dining on our beautiful patio,” said a representative for the Bamboo Asia team.

Bamboo Asia Bay Meadows

image credit: Bamboo Asia

A casual eatery serving Far East flavors and West Coast vibes, Bamboo Asia focuses on Asian food with healthy ingredients, custom options, and fast service in a friendly space. Customers can decide which country’s flavors they’re craving today: Japan, Vietnam or India. Then mix your bowl— and amaze your mouth. Always fast and fresh. Plus, they offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options for even the most radical diets. All parties hella’ welcome.

Read on for what to order and so much more

Q: What types of social games can we expect at the Bay Meadows San Mateo location?  

We want our customers to eat, stay and play a while, so we’ll have fun life-sized games that bring out the nostalgic kid in us all! From Giant Jenga and Connect Four to your favorite board games and more! You’ll have to join us to us and see what fun we have in store!

Q: Any future plans for specialty events/menu items or local collaborations?
We’re excited to work with our long time friend Chef Erik Hopfinger, a Top Chef-testant and veteran in the culinary world. All of our proteins are sous vide cooked, which is a fine dining cooking technique. Ingredients are vacuum sealed with spices and marinades, then cooked low and slow in a water bath for several hours. We then finish the proteins on the grill or in the tandoor oven, to impart a smokey flavors while carmelizing the spices.

At each counter, customers can customize their own salads, rice bowls, rolls and more, with vegan and vegetarian options like marinated Lemon Grass Tofu, or Palak Paneer (Indian cheese marinated in spice). We’ll be featuring our crowd fave specials like:

Shaking Beef Curry rice bowl at Vietnam Shaking beef, Vietnamese broccoli, eggplant chips, cilantro, lime, avocado, coconut curry sauce

Gosht Salad at India Lamb vindaloo, eggplant chips, curryflower, corn, avocado, pickled cucumber, street crunch, cumin lime vinaigrette

Tempura Crunch Sushi Roll at Japan Tempura shrimp, seaweed salad, avocado, tobiko, street crunch, yuzu ponzu

Our full bar will feature exotic cocktail mixes with Asian spices and we plan to launch tapas style plates, stay tuned for more!

Q: Of all the Hawker Markets ownership explored during travels, which would they recommend we all get on our bucket list?
It’s hard to choose because each country features such different and unique offerings. Ho Thi Ky Market in Vietnam is definitely a must! Shinjuku, Tokyo is also a great place to grab a variety of snacks and drinks. Walking down the narrow streets lit with colorful hawker signs and delicious aromas will have your sense on overload, in the best way!

Q: What is the most popular item on the menu from Vietnam?
The Crispy Pork Rolls at Vietnam are a delicious snack, filled with juicy pork and a medley of veggies. This crowd fave offers the best of both worlds with a mixture of  rice noodles and fresh mixed greens: Spicy Peanut Pork Rice Bowl BBQ pork, Vietnamese broccoli, coconut corn, street crunch, bean sprouts, peanut lime sauce, red viper sauce.

…and India?
For a hearty fix at India try the Lamb Katora Rice Bowl: Lamb vindaloo, eggplant chips, chana chickpeas, golden gate curry, mango, avocado, street crunch. Proteins can be subbed for Palak Panner cheese (vegetarian), or Tandoori Tofu (vegan). Don’t forget to grab a side of the crispy Samosa, puff pastry, filled with savory potato, peas, and aromatic spices.

…and Japan?
If your craving a fresh poke style bowl at Japan try the Northern Catch Rice Bowl: Salmon, tempura shrimp, rock crab, edamame, avocado, eggplant chips, street crunch, pickled cucumber, lemon, sweet chili, samurai sauce. Proteins can be subbed with grilled Teriyaki Tofu (vegan).

Featuring best-in-class retailers such as Blue Bottle Coffee, ROAM Artisan Burgers, Biograph, Slices San Mateo and Bamboo Asia coming soon, Bay Meadows’ Town Square is the ideal gathering place with more ground-floor retail, outdoor dining and pop-ups to come. Home to a stunning sculpture from internationally-renowned artist Jeppe Hein, the Town Square is the dynamic core of our Midurban village. It is the perfect place to relax outside for a beer or wine at Fieldwork Brewing Company’s Beer Garden after a day of shopping and entertainment at Hillsdale Shopping Center. Take a turn on the porch swings or challenge a friend to table-tennis in the outdoor ping-pong court. Join the Bay Meadows email list to stay on top of the latest.