Buns and lunch, my two favourite things
Forget what the health experts say. Breakfast isn't the most important meal of the day (it's not even the second most important). What's the meal we look forward to most? It's lunch isn't it. Stuck at our desks we long for it, and when it's over we mourn it all the way until dinner. It's a comma in our day, a fire escape in a tunnel, a love letter amongst bills in the morning post.
It's 9.30 at night, dinner's barely swallowed and I'm already planning tomorrow's lunch - that joyous moment when I down tools with one thing on my mind – something hearty, tasty and most importantly CARBY.
So listen up people like me, what if I told you that there is a place in Old Street where, for just £7.50, you can get an Asian salad, chicken soup, two gyozas and two steamed buns. I first discovered them during an otherwise disappointing meal at Shoryu in Piccadilly. Since then my obsession with these beautiful things has grown to reach boiling point recently (literally, I have bought bamboo steamers). I sometimes wake up gnawing at imaginary buns. While writing this I keep getting distracted by my own picture. That soft, doughy texture that's still light as anything; the crunch of the veg next to it; the spicy, sweet fillings and the meaty stuff you cram in them.
Yum Bun just by Old Street gets it all right with their Bento Box, making soft steamed taco shapes (known as gua bao in Taiwan) they can not only cram but overfill completely without making them tough to eat. They ram it with pork, chicken or salmon, then coat it all in spicy, sweet sauces, before letting you add the chilli sauce – which I can't recommend you do more. I got quite a lot of gristle in my pork but I didn't care. I chewed right through the awkwardness because the idea of stopping didn't even occur to me. True, the gyozas were dry, but they still put a big slobbery smile on your face. There was even a token but tasty salad just to convince you that you're doing your body good. You might be, but who cares: you're doing your soul good.
And that's why I love lunch.