Street Eats: Spicy Beef Bao from Fun Buns
In April we told you about a new food cart from the team behind Bian Dang that served Chinese buns known as bao. Fun Buns started out with only pork belly buns, but they recently added a 2nd item, spicy beef shank bao, to the menu.
The bao are $3 each, or you can get a combo of 3 buns plus either a drink or chips for $10. I decided to get 2 of the new beef buns plus a bag of chips for $8.
The Fun Buns cart originally spent most of its time downtown in the Financial District, but they recently started testing out spots on Park Ave between 22nd & 24th St and last week they came up to midtown, on 48th St & 6th Ave.
Unfortunately, the 48th St spot didn’t work out so well. We received 2 tweets from @IamEvie last week that said: “Yikes, major turf war going down btwn Fun Buns & halal cart on 48th. Halal guy is threatening, screaming & intimidating. Telling them something about how they paid for the street space & Fun Buns gotta go elsewhere. Bad 1st midtown experience for them.”
But these guys are veterans, and I’m confident they will find a good spot in midtown for at least one day a week.
As for the spicy beef buns, I’m not sure where the “spicy” was, but these were tasty beef bao.
The meat was very tender, and there was no fat on it at all. The five spice powder did not come through as strongly on the beef as it did on the pork belly we previously had, but it was noticeable.
Add to that the crushed sugar peanuts, mustard greens and coriander leaves, and you have the makings of a delicious lunch. Two of the bao were enough for lunch, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how soft and light the buns were.
As for the spicy prawn crackers, this was a large bag for one person, and let’s just say these are an acquired taste.
I generally love shrimp, and they were spicy, but the shrimp flavor was much stronger than I’m used to in a snack. I am a huge fan of chips with lunch, but don’t think I’m going to be getting these again.
The next (and final) bao on the menu will be lemongrass chicken. We’ll let you know when they arrive.