BEST BUNS Phoenix 2004 - Fate
Who has the tastiest, most sublime buns in the Valley? Why, chef Johnny Chu does, of course. How do we know, you ask? Because we've tasted them, silly, at Chu's renowned Fate cafe in downtown. The buns in question are not the type you see in a Nelly video. Rather, they are a variation on cha sui bao, or Chinese steamed pork buns. Chu fills them with spinach instead of swine, for an exquisite vegetarian appetizer that even diehard carnivores can appreciate. The exterior is pale white, and may look uncooked to the untrained eye, but bite into the gooey softness, and you'll get a mouthful of Popeye's delight surrounded by warm dough. Chu has more to be proud of than just his buns, of course. Being a wizard with the wok, and every other cooking implement, to boot, his curries and stir-fried noodles are magnifique. And it's all served in the funky, artsy surroundings of the converted house in which Fate is located. We always look forward to our next visit to Fate, but we confess it's those buns we look forward to most of all.
We love your buns, Johnny! And we'll take a bite out of them any day of the week, baby.