Think Chipotle meets Dim Sum.
By Hope S. Philbrick
“Fresh food fast” is the slogan of the new Yum Bunz.
“Healthy” (or at least “healthier” than most other fast dining options) is the goal. No scary growth hormones, no trans fats and no MSG.
Yum Bunz serves only naturally raised meats. Vegetables are fresh, plus locally-grown and sustainable as much as possible. Sauces are hand-crafted from “the purest oils and herbs.” Everything on the menu is made from scratch. The philosophy is similar to its fast-food Mexican-inspired predecessor Chipotle, though the two companies aren’t related.
The service approach is fast and casual: Place your order at the counter, the cashier hands you a number, you snag a table, place the number in a prominent place, wait a bit, and food and alcoholic drinks are delivered to the table. (Non-alcoholic beverages are self-serve.)
As the name implies, the menu focus is steamed Bao, a dim sum tradition made with yeast dough. Press materials explain that ‘bao’ means bundle in Mandarin and is also the generic Chinese term for bun.
The baseball-sized buns are flat on the bottom and scored with a blossom-like pattern on the top. They are stuffed with a variety of fillings, from savory or sweet, meat to vegetarian, chocolate to fruit. The cooking process of the dough—steamed, not fried or baked or boiled—gives the Bunz a distinctive bouncy texture. Steam cooking also helps minimize calories.
Barbecue pork, chicken teriyaki and Mongolian beef are the most popular Bunz stuffing options. Other options include yellow curry chicken, Szechuan chicken and vegetable. At $1.59 each, try them all. Fair warning: they’re filling: the stuffing to Bunz ratio is dough heavy. And no matter which stuffing you order, the consistency is the same: there are no chunks of meat but rather a thick purée.
“Bao is believed to have been cooked-up as a portable meal for soldiers in third century A.D. and over the years became a delicacy to common people throughout Asia,” state press materials. “Today, Bao embodies all culinary ethnicities and nationalities and is a favorite local cuisine to many.”
Bunz are the star but not the only player. Other menu options include soups, salads and bowls where you choose a base (white rice, brown rice, quinoa, rice noodle or lettuce), a protein and a sauce. Like the bao, the dumplings (also known as potstickers) are steamed—don’t miss the pork and chives version with spicy mustard sauce.
If you favor sweet cocktails, try the signature frozen mango margarita. The beverage menu also includes infused teas, Thai coffee, Asian beer and sodas.
It’s corny but true: Bite into these bunz and you’ll most likely utter, “Yum.” Flavors are clean, pleasant and satisfying.
935 Marietta St., Suite A
Atlanta, GA 30318
Open Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday Noon to 9 p.m. Reservations are not accepted, it’s first-come, first-served.
-Photos © HSP Media LLC