Ex-Din Tai Fung Chefs Open Taiwanese Bun Café, With Awesome Beef Fat Fried Rice
A tasty cross between DTF’s fried rice & New Ubin’s ‘heart attack’ beef fat version.
Gua baos (‘cut buns’) — known in Singaporean Hokkien fare as kong bak paus — are one of the decade’s hottest Taiwanese exports. Though the street snack originated in Fujian, China, and later travelled to Taiwan, it really burst into the international scene thanks to the likes of Momofuku and Baohaus in America and Little Bao in Hong Kong making it hip.
They popularised the idea of gourmet fusion baos — a concept that has yet to really take off in Singapore, with only a handful of such specialist eateries like Bao Makers (a concept that straddles the gua bao and a host of other Japanese flavours) and the now-defunct Bao Boy.
Abundance, which opened in Lengkok Bahru three weeks ago, is the latest to hop onto the trend — though the team behind it have been dishing it out since September last year as a home-based business. It was the brainchild of 32-year-old Tan Yuan Xin and ex-Din Tai Fung senior head chef Jaz Yew, 40. The pair had met years ago when Yuan Xin was a management trainee at BreadTalk Group, which is the franchisee of the award-winning Taiwanese xiao long bao restaurant. They later roped in Jaz’s colleague, 39-year-old Lim Yu Kim, who also used to be a chef at Din Tai Fung.
Yuan Xin was an assistant manager in corporate and marketing communications at Changi Airport Group who, like so many others, seized the opportunity during the pandemic to make his dream of starting an F&B biz a reality. “We’d actually been talking about it for two years,” he says. “We considered burgers, steaks and fish soup before we finally settled on gua baos.”
While the response has been good so far, tonight will be the last dinner service in the restaurant until the new no dine-in restrictions are eased, of course. "As a new business, we'll definitely be affected", says Yuan Xin. "We'll take this downtime in our stride to smoothen operations to better serve our customers." Delivery options are available, though you'll need to contact them through their social media pages for that as the guys were caught by surprise by the sudden rule and hadn’t made any plans with delivery platforms prior to this.