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Buzzy Long Beach Filipino Chef Takes Over Tiny Space in Downtown LA

Rice & Shine’s AC Boral has opened Baon in Downtown

Rice Bar is Downtown’s Seven-Seat Filipino Grain Bowl Masterpiece
Decor at the former Rice Bar
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Well that didn’t take long. Mere weeks after the announced closure of chef Charles Olalia’s popular, if minuscule, Downtown restaurant Rice Bar, more Filipino rice bowls will come to the 200-square-foot space. This time the food comes from chef AC Boral, who is known primarily for his Long Beach-based Filipino pop-ups carrying the moniker Rice & Shine.

Boral’s new venture follows a familiar pattern, but under its own flag. The new name is Baon, a Tagalog reference to food that is packed by travelers on a journey, with ‘journey’ being an apt description for Boral’s winding path to his own restaurant. Much like the former Historic Filipinotown pop-up Bennadictz by chef Justin Foronda, Boral first gained steam online for a series of one-off Filipino-leaning brunch events around Southern California. Just as he was securing a restaurant space for that idea down in Long Beach, along came Olalia with the announcement of his own Rice Bar closure in Downtown.

So now there is Baon, working up a similar menu of Filipino meats and veggies over rice, including options like pork belly and tofu. There’s lumpia as well, naturally, plus rotating sides and desserts.

Not to be slowed down, Boral is also still working on his Long Beach project at the same time. As the Long Beach Post reports, Rice & Shine has taken a space along 4th Street with plans to open by the end of the summer. That larger sit-down space will offer many of Boral’s dishes from his pop-up days, and there is a crowdfunding campaign live now to help defray his own personal costs for opening.

Meanwhile Baon is up and running in Los Angeles, keeping hours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, for now.

Baon. 419 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA.