Okay so HOLY SHIT I have been WASTING MY LIFE. For twenty-seven years I’ve been uselessly bumbling to and fro, fro and to, merely FILLING IN TIME until I ate a pork bun.

This article assumes you haven’t eaten a pork bun yet – that you are as I once was, indeed as I was this very morning, unaware of what pork buns were like – so if you HAVE eaten a pork bun, you can stop reading. Go eat a pork bun. Live your life.

Let me tell you about pork buns.


Actually, no – let me tell you about childhood.

There is a stage in most every child’s life where, when not sufficiently watched by their mother and/or father and/or nursery droid, they discover that you can roll white bread into a firm ball. Maybe you can shove something in the middle – that’s not really important. I used to put Marmite in ’em. The crucial take-home element is the consistency.

It changes fluffy white bread into something dense and biteable; an apple of a thing, a coherent sphere from which you can take great chomps and leave distinct tooth-marks in the flesh. For me, at least, it came with the pleasure of invention, because I had not been shown that bread could do this – I learned. I was an innovator.

It’s like a doughnut, but not – it is an airless thing. A bread energy bar. It has the consistency of those putty erasers in art class, except you’re allowed to eat it. I cannot understand quite what is so elementally satisfying, so utterly pleasing, about being seven years old and tearing a lump out of a tightly-wadded ball of bread.

(I legitimately pictured a high-end version that you could serve at dinner parties, and the balls would come pre-rolled with a filling and sold in clear cellophane packs of four. My mother tried to tell me that most people didn’t like balled up white bread, and while I lacked the vocabulary to tell her that she was a close-minded philistine, I certainly thought it in some furious, childish way)

I stole this picture from a blog. Sorry, blog. Rest assured I won't make any money off the theft.

I stole this picture from a blog. Sorry, blog. (The buns taste much better than they look, trust me.)


Anyway, pork buns have that consistency, but better. Two of the problems with Bread Balls (as I would have called them once they hit the market) are neatly solved by pork buns, viz:

ONE. Being made from scratch, they lack the cobbled-together nature of Bread Balls which lead to unslightly seam lines where your edges met, and no amount of desperate squidging would cover it up, and it would lead to fatal structural errors later on, and

TWO. It is steamed, which deals with the other problem of Bread Balls, in that they became almost instantly stale. Kept in a steaming-box, the pork bun will stay moist and yielding for hours.

So as you can see, they are perfect. There are eight kinds of Pork Buns available at Chubby Girl’s Bunz, the actual name of a place I bought buns from today, and I had two of them. Yummy Pork (which was an accurate name) and Pork and Celery, which I purchased roughly fifteen minutes after the first as I just-so-happened to be walking past the shop a second time.


Look – pork buns aren’t Michellin-starred food. They’re dough and pork stew and not much else. But they cost a dollar fifty each, and I was full after two. That’s absurdly cheap. That’s so cheap that I’m considering walking there every day, now, and putting on massive amounts of weight and not caring in the slightest.

They are large, too; fist-sized ovals wrapped in steamed-up plastic bags, reassuringly heavy, and crammed with filling.

Do you know how much a pint costs, in this city? FIVE LARGE PORK BUNS. That’s how much. I know which I’d prefer, most days.

This is Chubby Girl, the mascot of the bun shop. Don't know what's going on with that.

This is Chubby Girl, the mascot of the bun shop. Don’t know what’s going on with that.


So here’s my plan – next time anyone says to me that they want to have lunch, I am going to take them to Chubby Girl’s Bunz, then I am going to take them to heaven bypassing through their childhood. I will order ten buns, far too many for us to eat, and place them in a single bag, then plonk that down on the table in front of us, and I will grin. I will produce a sack of food for us to eat.

Who doesn’t want to grab hot food from a sack and cram it, soft and giving, into their hungry mouth? No-one, that’s who.

Categorised in: Review

8 thoughts on “Oh my god PORK BUNS

  • Mat Linnett says:

    Well I know what I’m having for lunch now then.
    There’s a great little market stall on Berwick Street called Pitstop Cafe.
    As well as doing quite possibly the best, freshest fried rice in Soho, they do pork buns. Admittedly, smaller than fist sized, but pork buns all the same.


  • Conor says:

    After dense, furiously concentrated, slightly sweary head-maths, I was left with “7.50 for a pint???”

    • grant says:

      If not more! Sydney is absurdly expensive, when it comes to booze. I’ve grown used to it… but yeah, you can pay 8-9 dollars for a pint of ale pretty easily. (Which is about £4.50, in old country money, which is still an expensive pint.)

  • Hutchero says:

    Pork buns are proof God loves us and wants us to be happy

  • George Rowe says:

    I recently experienced my first pork bun in Hong Kong at a friends behest. I had at least one a day from then on. Now I am in Bristol, and I have no pork buns. Woe is me.

  • Andrew Smee says:

    Hey, hello, hi there.

    Pork Buns. Amazing, aren’t they? My Chinese mother made them from scratch when I was growing up. My childhood Bread Balls were just Pork Buns. Imagine that.

    Anyway, I actually work for this place called Yum Bun. They look like this: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BqbFf2tCIAEeM2i.jpg:large

    Based off Momofuku New York’s buns which are themselves based off of Taiwanese Gua Bao. The pork is cooked separately from the bun, to order, and it’s crispy.

    We’ve won awards. If you’re ever in London, give me a shout and I’ll be sure to slip you a freebie.

  • Macula says:

    Grant, I read this with a mixture of joy that you’re sharing one of my passions, and sorrow I didn’t get to introduce you to them. If we’re ever in London at the same time, I’ll take you to my favourite bun place in the country. If we’re ever in GZ at the same time, I’ll take you to the best place for buns in the world. Char Siu Bao are a measuring stick of a good chinese eatery. I’m being badgered to write a piece called “Char Siu Bao. Bacon Sandwich of the East”.

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