Bian Dang’s Fun Buns Cart Now Offers Three Types of Buns
Last month, Andrea reported about an offshoot of the Bian Dang truck called Fun Buns NYC downtown that was serving one thing and one thing only: steamed pork buns. The cart (which has a similar colored design to the Mama Truck) has since spread their wings a bit and they now move around they city. They’ve also added two other types of buns to their menu.
Friday is their Midtown day and last week I found them set up on 48th Street near 6th Avenue. When I stopped by, they didn’t have their Lemongrass Chicken bun on the menu yet, but offered both their Braised Pork Belly and the Spicy Beef Shank. Each bun alone costs $3, which seems a bit steep to me. But a combo of 3 buns, plus a drink and chips will put you out $10 (2 buns with the same is $8).
The bag of Shrimp Flavored Crackers will not be for everybody’s tastes, but I found myself addicted to the sweet, spicy, crunchy sensation. And they really tasted like shrimp. For some that will be a turn-off, but I was fascinated by them.
The drink I chose was also keeping with the Asian theme: Honey Flavored Grass Jelly. This was a bit too syrupy and sweet for my tastes and I was actually disappointed there was no physical jelly pieces.
But now on to the main event – the buns. Right off the bat, I was disappointed with the texture of the bread. It wasn’t nearly as pillowy or soft as the specimens I’ve loved at Momofuku and Ippudo. These actually bordered on being stale. Fortunately, the meat inside made up for the bun itself. The beef shank was definitely my favorite. The meat was tender and well seasoned with surprising flavors of cinnamon and star anise, a touch of sweetness from the peanuts, and some earthy funk from sour mustard greens.
The pork buns (presumably their speciality) were also good. Not quite as fatty and decadent as the spots in the East Village, but still flavorful and rich. This one had some sort of savory brown sauce that reminded me of hoisin. I’m eager to try the chicken version which is served a little differently than these two.
On their own, these buns are a small appetizer or midday snack. But I think the combo options are a good deal and with the unusual chips make for a filling lunch. They should be back in Midtown tomorrow, so check their Twitter feed or the ML Twitter Tracker to be sure.