When you think of buns you probably think of bread, a slang word for buttox, or the pretty pork buns that pop up in your Instagram feed. However, the world of buns is much more diverse than that. In Chinese cuisine, baozi (the word for “buns”) is a standard steamed bun dish and there are many different kinds beyond the popular pork bun. While I was in Hong Kong studying cuisine and culture, I had the opportunity to try Cantonese pork buns, red bean bao, and egg custard buns. These all looked like round white fluffy pillows and tasted like heaven. In New York, the bun style is different. The only time I could find a Cantonese-style pork bun was at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the first dim sum parlor in the city. But other than that, the most popular buns tend to be pork belly buns served on sandwich style steamed buns. Restaurants such as Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ippudo and Baohaus have risen to the top of the New York bun scene, but I wanted to divert from the mainstream and try something new. So I ended up at Jum Mum, a tiny shop on St. Marks Place with a great selection of buns & rice. Because pork buns are kind of old news, I decided to take a different route and try four other speciality buns. And while I do love all buns unconditionally, some are better than others. There were four in the running, but only one could become America’s Next Top Bun.
You have to watch the episode to find out the winner, but here is are the four buns in the running to become America’s Next Top Bun.
The Chicken Run Bun
panko crusted fried chicken, lettuce, tomato & spicy mayonnaise
The Red Devil Bun
seared marinated sliced beef, lettuce, kim chi, cilantro & sesame soy sauce
The Oh Baby Bun
braised spare ribs, lettuce & sweet chili jam sauce