So, what did I know about the bun mobile before going in? I was aware that they serve up a type of steamed white Asian bun, filled with a variety of exotic ingredients. I had heard tell of mythically tasty pork and tender Wagyu beef with something called Red Dragon sauce. I had stalked their ever-changing location, but had never been near enough to go. I was intrigued. I have long been a lover of the pork bun – like the softest white bread wrapped around a salty sweet filling often brilliantly red. I imagined that The Bun Mobile would have a similarly soft-textured “bun”, filled with something perhaps a little more sophisticated and with a less thrillingly lurid hue. When the day finally dawned that The Bun Mobile would be in my area during lunch, the event was locked in. Loth though I am to plan, there was no way I was missing this fabled bun-toting wagon. During mandatory pre-meal googling, I discovered that permanent rotation filling ingredients include twice cooked pork, wagyu beef and teriyaki chicken, along with a panoply of condiments and salad items. There is also a daily special, and my mouth is watering at the thought of today’s confit duck sausage with crispy pork belly and pickled cucumber, hoisin sauce, shallots and pomegranate seeds. Rumour spread around that the bun mobile was coming, and I packed a pair of flat shoes for walking into my bag, planning my ascent to the Bun Mobile with those who were willing to come. The more I think about it, the more I notice the parallels between the Bun Mobile and the feeling of going to the high school tuck-shop. Something about checking to see how much cash you have, thinking about what you can get, maybe sharing with a friend to maximise your haul. Going to an all-girls school, I also relate to the gathering of a large group of people before going anywhere. Those of you with similar schooling may remember; it was social suicide to join the tuckshop line solo.
These days I’m sure that tuckshops are monitored a lot more closely for nutrition, but when I was walking the halls, it was all about the Coffee Breaka, and these legendary chocolate chip cookies. Sadly, there were no delicious steamed buns filled with gourmet goodness to be had, but that would only be scraping the surface of why going to The Bun Mobile as an adult is way better than the high school tuck shop. Suffice it to say, there are many, many reasons. The fact that I can drive a car now, for example, or that I no longer have braces. I also don’t have to wear a blouse seemingly made of curtain fabric, or an ankle length, a-line skirt.
So what do I think of the buns! Delicious is the only word I can think of that accurately describes what has happened here. The bun itself was the soft, slightly sweet, fluffy outer that I imagined. The crispy pork belly was tender and flavourful. The confit duck sausage was juicy and scented with fennel seeds. The sakura pickled cucumber and the pomegranate seeds offered bursts of acidity and crunch, and the hoisin sauce blanketed everything in a savoury, saline slick. If your mouth is not watering, then it should be. Hunt them down I tell you. Your buns may regret it, but you will not regret sampling their buns.