The Fógetagarðurinn square in the centre of Reykjavík is notorious for its sketchy past. Located on the corner of Aðalstræti and Kirkjustræti, the square was once a cemetery and is one of the oldest parks in the capital. In recent years, the area had quite the reputation as a hangout for the homeless and drug users. Since then, however, Fógetagarðurinn has undergone many changes and has now become a hotspot for incredible street food, with new and creative businesses making it a more welcoming and sanitised environment. The new food truck, Bao Bun, is one such business that has given Fógetagarðurinn an improved vibe, and now you have a good reason to add this downtown site to your list of places for enjoying the sun.
Sun’s out, buns out
Bao Bun, which serves Chinese-style steamed buns with a variety of fillings, such as pork, beef, and veggies, is an offshoot of Skúli Craft Bar—named after the legendary sheriff Skúli, whose statue stands in the middle of the square—located next door. For lovers of craft beer, Skúli Craft Bar is a must. The selection of beers is diverse and unique and pairs excellently with the food from Bao Bun. “We always needed some food—people are always wandering around, trying to find something to eat,” says bar manager Hákon D. Guðjónsson. “So we decided this summer to open the Bao Bun food truck. It’s our kitchen! It brings the square to life.”
Skúli Craft Bar and Bao Bun have a thriving affiliation; they work together to bring more people into the square. Hákon adds: “People no longer have to go somewhere to get beer with their food, or food with their beer. This changes the atmosphere of the entire area. It’s more alive, with more families and people hanging out. It has the city atmosphere you’re looking for.” Establishing a food truck service to go hand in hand with a bar is a sensible idea; it’s fast, convenient, and it brings zest back into Fógetagarðurinn. “We’re one of the first [businesses] to bring real life to this part of town,” says Hákon. Bao Bun doesn’t plan on stopping there—Hákon claims that the truck is staying put for now, but in the future, will hopefully be available at festivals.
For Fógetagarðurinn and businesses around the square, it’s a win-win situation. Bao Bun offers a different experience for customers, gets more people out, and creates further development in the area. For such a niche market, a food truck is a brilliant solution. “We serve Chinese steamed bread with fillings, but there’s no way someone could open up a restaurant with just Chinese steamed bread [in Iceland]. The food truck is a brilliant way to serve this fun, good food,” says Hákon. “It’s a clever solution.”