Saturday, 20 April 2013

Yum Bun Old Street popup - tiny morsel packs a punch

Yum Bun Old Street review
Stuffed steam buns from Yum Bun

Address: 31 Featherstone Street,
London EC1Y 2BJ
Phone: 079 1940 8221
Nearest Underground station:
Old Street

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £5
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ****
Service: ***
Ambience: N/A
Even after all these years, I flinched whenever I have to fork out £4.50 for two pieces of prata that were frozen minutes ago. I know that I can get freshly made ones for the equivalent of 75p each back home. Why do I inflict this upon myself, you might be wondering. Well, nostalgia I guess - tucking into a prata reminds me of my pals with whom I had countless supper at Jalan Kayu (see best prata in Singapore) during weekend evenings.

That is exactly why I have been frequenting Yum Bun these days. When I was a kid, instead of cakes for tea time, Mum would pass me a couple of coins to get ourselves some "kong ba bao" from the kopitiam downstairs.

They are essentially steam buns but with stewed pork belly stuffed into them. With a bit of gravy dribbling through each bun, the satisfaction comes when you sink your teeth onto the fatty meats. It was a simple snack - soft steamed bun shaped like an opened oyster shell with fatty pork belly stuffed in.

Like many boys of my age, I had a huge appetite - I could easily down a couple of those in a single sitting. I think Mum would probably have flipped if I were to pull the same stunt at Yum Bun with £3.50 apiece.

Then again, we aren't talking about the same thing, are we? Instead of a piece of fatty stewed pork, I am staring at a piece of ox cheeks, chopped spring onions, slices of cucumber with a sprinkle of crushed walnuts for that extra crunch. Other than the beef variety, there are buns with pork, chicken and even mushrooms for the vegetarians.

With the extra toppings, the bun is way more satisfying. The spring onions and cucumber lent a refreshing contrast to the walnut's nutty grind. If you are looking for a something between a cold sandwich and a hot meal, look no further.

Don't even think that you would get away with just one. It is at best a tiny morsel (I tried to space it out - it took me just three bites) and one is just enough to whet your appetite. Yum Bun offers two buns for £6. You might just get by with those.

There's no seating though for Yum Bun is all but a takeaway counter. Can't blame it, it's a popup after all.  There is a makeshift bench outside though. Either that or you can pop by next door's Rotary Bar & Diner (there's a through door) and get a drink to go with the buns. The staff at Rotary Bar would be fine with that provided you order something from there.

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