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The brainchild of Bian Dang‘s Thomas Yang and his business partner Jason Moy, Fun Buns NYC is an up-and-coming food cart set to make its way into the Taiwanese gua bao scene. They’ve made an appearance at TAP-NYC’s Taiwanese Night Market and are set to formally launch in the upcoming weeks.
“It was just trying out a lot of flavors and seeing what works and doesn’t work,” Yang says. “It was looking at other examples and bringing it to people. If you like it, awesome. If you don’t, we’ll tweak it a bit.”
Yang, who is half-Taiwanese, says he wants to bring more of Taiwan into New York City. “Food is a big cultural thing,” he says. “It’s a really basic staple that everyone can appreciate on a basic level.”
Although the bao won’t be exactly the way it is in Taiwan, Yang says the goal is to bring good food with good value. “The harshest critics are the Taiwanese,” he says. “Taiwan is across the world, and we can’t duplicate it exactly the way it is there with the same type of pricing.” The cart has three confirmed baos. To commemorate their launch, they’ve shared with us the recipe for their classic mouth-watering pork-belly bao:
5 pounds pork belly, skin on
13 ounces soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, with skin off
3 to 4 pieces star anise
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Cilantro, to serve
Wash the pork belly and pat dry.
Cut into 1-inch cubes.
Spread the cubes out on an oven tray and place under the grill to quickly brown all sides.
Put the pork belly and soy sauce in a large pan over high heat.
Stir thoroughly until the pork belly absorbs the soy sauce evenly (about two minutes). Then add enough water to just cover the meat, followed by the scallions, garlic, star anise, and sugar.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 to 50 minutes without the lid on and stir constantly.
Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro.