Cocktail Bun – $1.00 from St Honore Cake Shop, 427 Sussex St Haymarket (Chinatown)
I couldn’t think of a better way to start off the new year than with the snack that started it all, the humble cocktail bun. Back when I was a bright eyed and narrow waisted young graduate, and quite new to Sydney, I wandered in search of food. My ramblings took me to a small, unassuming cake shop named St Honore, one of many around Sydney’s Chinatown. Upon entering I was floored (literally) by a greasy tile, but soon picked myself up and gazed into the many snack booths surrounding me. The choice was a tough one, hundreds of options cried out (figuratively) at me from their perspex prisons. In the end I settled on the only snack that had two booths, which I assumed meant it was a local favourite. Enter the cocktail bun.
The legend of the cocktail bun dates back to 1950s Hong Kong, and the heroic actions of an aspiring young pastry chef. He was saddened at the end of each day when he was forced to throw the days unsold buns into the bin. One day, the young chef ground up a batch of these stale buns with coconut and sugar to make a tasty paste, and then used this paste as the filling for the next day’s buns. This simple yet elegant solution to food re-use sparked a world-wide movement we know today as ‘recycling’, and has spread to many different industries, most notably glass, paper and plastics.
The St Honore cocktail bun ticks all the right boxes – cheap, tasty and relatively unhealthy. There is a generous amount of filling, a smattering of sesame seeds, and a misshapen look ensuring that each bun you eat is as unique as a snowflake. Occasionally this uniqueness leads to dud bun every now and then, but on the whole, it’s hard to go wrong. 4 stars.
Originality – Poor (but it’s a classic so that doesn’t count against it)
Execution – Good
Value – Excellent
Overall judgement: 4