Thursday, 20 June 2013

The night we invaded Yum Bun's kitchen



So I mentioned in the last post that I'll give a little update on some of the lovely edible distractions in my life. I only got round to writing about one, but perhaps one will do because I think it deserves a whole post on its own. It was a mad mad night, 31 May, in fact it was a mad mad month leading up to it.

We invaded Yum Bun's kitchen that night, armed with pots and posters and party lights. For those not living in London, or for those living in London but under a rock, Yum Bun is one of the rockstars on London's street food scene. They've recently got a permanent shop in Old Street, right at the super trendy Rotary Bar, so this is us entering hipster foodie land.

We've done buns before for plusixfive supperclubs, and my mum's pork belly bun in particular, is a recipe I just can't bring myself to post on this blog because I'm sure she's going to get rich and famous for it one day. A traditional Asian home/ street snack, kong bak pau is a soft white fluffy steamed bun shaped like a clam (called gua bao), in which a slab of triple-cooked pork belly is sandwiched, along with some crisp fresh lettuce. Yum Bun does some wonderfully creative takes on this classic with slow-roasted belly pork, karaage chicken, sticky salmon etc. We decided it's time to bring more bun love to London and throw something entirely different onto the table at that. Because I'm young and crazy and believe I can conquer the world, I sent an overexcited email to Lisa (Yum Bun) and turned up at their shop with a small batch of rendang to bribe them. And hurrah, it happened.



Well, it wasn't actually that easy. I really wanted this pop-up to be successful so we even held bun tasting sessions (thanks J, Ed Wen and Wen's entire family for the really hard work, er tasting buns that night). Think rows and rows of herbs, salads, toasted peanuts/ coconut, fried shallots/ garlic, even crushed kueh pie tee shells. In the end, we came up with the ox cheeky rendang bun, ox cheek slow-braised in coconut and heck load of spices; and the "I-can't-believe-it's veg" popiah bun, braised turnips and mushrooms topped with a fiery sweet lime chilli. And then there were all the posters and crazy tweeting and retweeting.



The day before was simply mad. I thought I was all done with my prep, ready to go for a job interview and a dinner party; but a sudden flurry of ticket sales because of some last minute features on a couple of popular London lifestyle sites meant a grocery run between the two events, turning up at the party carrying See Woo bags (best dressed award, definitely), and returning home at midnight, half-drunk, to cook up a second batch. The day itself, was even more mad. If you had one or three or maybe even six of the 500 ++ buns we sold that night, thank you so much for the support. And big thanks and love to the team that night especially, Jason my co-chef/ fellow plotter, Wen the beer lady/door bitch/ cash machine, Javier our saviour (thanks for being there on such short notice), and the fabulous Lisa and her yummy team and shocking (terrible) playlist.



Yes, one giant distraction over, but a lot more up my sleeve I hope. I finally finish with Central Saint Martins; last night was the opening night of my degree show. I'm excited and relieved and scared all at once that I'm graduating, but hopefully more exciting things come my way, edible or not. SOMEONE HIRE ME.


For more,
See more photos of the night on my instagram. And a few other people's.

Recipes for the night (adaptions to suit buns but pretty similar):
Ox cheek rendang
Soon kueh

Photo credits to the brilliant Ming.

27 comments:

  1. So intense! I can't believe you got to work with Yum Bun—street food heroes! Congrats again on graduating. Can't wait to see your show :)

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    1. It was real fun that day! And the team was super!

      Thank you! I'm really happy but sada t the same time.. I don't want to be an adult! See you tomorrow! x

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  2. Sounds like an intense and exciting couple of days! I'm going to have to drag my husband to Yum Bun, totally his kind of food. Congratulations on graduating and good luck with the show. Exciting times. :)

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    1. it was an intense and exciting MONTH leading up to it really! Because it also coincided with the month leading up to my final portfolio submission; I was tearing my hair out! So relieved it's over, but like all good things, sad to see it over. I refer to both college and the event. Thanks so much!!x

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  3. I'm obviously under a rock...I'm in London all the time but hadn't heard of Yum Bum...thanks for introducing me to what looks like an amazing eatery. The food looks awesome. Your work is great I'll keep you in mind if I hear anyone looking for graphics...good luck Shu Han...the adventure now begins...
    deb

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    1. YOU! Haha,Yes please do check out Yum Bun, Lisa's fab!
      Thanks so much! I really do hope I find work; I love London too much to leave! Yes the adventure now begins... I'm so scared and excited at the same time. More scared though.

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  4. Hi five!!

    Someone hires my cooking partner pleeeease!

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    1. Hi 5! PLUS hug!
      PLEASE SOMEONE HIRE ME :(

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  5. Congratulations Shu Han! Both on graduating and on the work with such an amazing place! I wish they existed here... I would skip several meals a week and go there instead. It's so funny because the only rendang recipe I ever posted was with beef cheeks. Since I tried them I have never switched back to any other cut. They are just perfect.
    Good luck with your future adventures!

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    1. Thanks so so much Sissi! Haha you are such an awesome cook yourself I have trouble believing you will skip making several meals a week! Yes I remember that rendang recipe, it was the same time I posted mine! (We are connected by some weird ESP thing remember?)

      I'm so scared (and excited of course, but more scared) about my future...! Fingers crossed for me D:

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  6. Those fillings sound incredible! I don't think I could choose just one :) Well done on what looks like a very successful event :)

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    1. Thank you!! Haha they came as a set, so everyone was "forced" to get everything ;)

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  7. I was gutted to miss this! It happened the Friday before I flew out of London and I was prebooked for an evening of doleful goodbyes. Looking forward to the reprise in October. :-)

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    1. It would have been SOOO lovely to see you there! We should do something when you're back in October! Guess what, I'm in the US now too- but nyc! for a week, hurrah!

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  8. Oh how much fun. I'm desperate to try this place out, I must make a trip over there very soon. How exciting to have your degree show too.

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    1. I hope you managed to try Yum Bun !Lisa's great!

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  9. Congratulations! I've only done a couple of cooking en masse nights and it's pigging hard work. Those buns look delicious - NICE BUNS!

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    1. It is pigging hard work! But fun! If you ignore the aching legs after.

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  10. Totally thought that said "Yum Bum" at first, and reading through the other comments it seems I'm not the only one, lol!

    This looks like so much fun - wish they had that sort of scene here. Maybe they do but I'm not really involved with any foodie scene here (if one even exists?!) :(

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  11. Oh you are doing so well, it's only a matter of time before you go on to BIG things. Love your food and don't give your mum's secret recipe away, it could make you millions!

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    1. Aw thanks Laura! I'll tell myself that while I'm miserably doing job applications and frettign about my future. x

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  12. I have heard of this restaurant, but had never been to, because I live in this city and have the opportunity to go to taste the food here, and I'm looking forward to coming here.

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  13. Sounds so exciting ! Obviously one more reason why I regret not to live in London, one of the coolest cities in the world (even though I'm not comfortable with big cities, I got addicted everytime I went there). Being quite a messy cook, I'm so impressed you could handle such a crazy event !
    Fingers crossed for your hiring !!!
    And, those buns look soooo yum...my ;) Reminds me I still have to try kong bak pau - I'll keep in mind the good inspiration for fillings !

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    1. Aw thanks helena! I do love London, I really hope with all my heart that I can stay; fingers crossed for me k? Haha I'm horribly messy too, but the mess often only ends up on me; I'm anal about keeping my counter neat. It was crazy though, but so so so much fun at the same time!

      You have to try kong bak pau. It's amazing. I would share a recipe.. but I can't.. (sorry)

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  14. Hi Shu Han, congratulation. Wish you good luck and all the best, hope you get your dream job soon.
    The buns look awesome.

    Have a nice weekend.

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  15. More exciting things WILL come your way, Shu Han. Your stellar personality and ass kicking talent will get you through life just fine. You're such a super star at your age as it is. Cheers to greater things to come your way!

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