The Bun Bun food truck has taken Bánh Mì to the streets of Stockholm and beyond, making Swedes fall in love with a French-Vietnamese baguette called Bánh Mì.
Music at Bun Bun Truck
This tasty treat was born when the French left Vietnam in the fifties. Local street vendors filled classic baguettes with native flavors of crunchy sour pickles, chilies, marinated pork, and much more.
Bun Bun Trucks have become a familiar sight in Sweden at music festivals, on street corners, and at their home turf of Hornstull's street market. From May 2016, you’ll also find them at popular Stockholm venue, Trädgården.
In their short existence, they’ve won many awards including a prestigious gold at The Restaurant Gala and the title Rookie of the Year at last year's Fast Food Awards
They use compostable packaging and have a keen eye for the modern world, with an app and frequent website updates that make them easy to find.
We had lunch with co-founder Kristofer Lund to discuss music, the weather and all things Bun Bun.
So, we begin at the end of 2012. What’s the story?
– Anders, Martin, and I sold Landet, a popular restaurant and music venue, in December that year. I took some time off and went to the States. When I returned, I'd planned to take it easy for a while. That lasted about two weeks until I got restless and started to think about a new project.
– I’d visited Northern California while traveling and seen Bánh Mì on a menu board. The ingredients sounded great, and I took a photo of them. Back in Stockholm a few months later, we heard that the council was releasing permits for food trucks and I mentioned the sandwich I’d seen. I tried a few recipes and realized that it’s the best sandwich ever. It was evident to me that we should do this. Last year in April we had our premier at the first Hornstull street market.
How do you envision the sound of Bun Bun Truck?
– Landet was easy in that sense. It was built around us three owners, and we played the music we liked the most, that fit the place, and that fit the concept. But Bun Bun is something we’ve built from scratch, so it’s not as easy to define. I don’t feel it would work to play Vietnamese or French music, but we're still international, of course. People like the story but don’t directly connect the sandwiches with that kind of music. The brand is seen as more American style, I think.
– Something like William Onyeabor would be great actually. Slightly psychedelic music that's fun but not specific to any place or genre, with a slight sunshine vibe to it. Music that would make people happy when queuing for a sandwich in the windy and rainy Swedish weather. Definitely not something like deep German house or techno. I don’t think that would work for our customers.
”Music is the shoes of any brand as it reveals who you really are.”
Bun Bun Truck
How do you think music affects your customers overall?
– It affects them in the same way it affects the perception of all brands. Music is the shoes of any brand as it reveals who you really are. I mean when you see a guy on the street, you see an expensive shirt and the same jeans as everyone wears. But the only way you can tell the difference from anyone else is by what he wears on his feet. Music has the same effect. You can spend all the money you want on interior design or whatever and then completely destroy how you’re seen by playing lousy music.
– This works the other way around too. You can walk into an average pizzeria, with no special furniture or anything. If they're playing awesome music, it instantly changes how you feel about the place. It works both ways.
A damn good analogy! What do you hope people will get from the music you play?
– I think it would have to be music that a lot of people would hear for the first time. Many people haven’t eaten Bánh Mì before, so it’s good for them to hear stuff that's new to their ears too. You send a signal to people that says: "I haven’t heard this tune before, but it’s great, what is it?" Same with the sandwich – it’s great, but what is it?
How do you see Spotify fitting into this? Do you use it yourself?
– I use it a lot and have been since it started. I had one of the first few beta accounts as I knew one of the people who were among the original ten employees. In the beginning, I used it for home party playlists, and I can remember it blowing people's minds. It was hard for everyone to get their heads around the fact that you could play so many different songs. They were fighting to get access to the computer, and most songs got cut halfway through by sheer impatience.
Do you see Soundtrack as a good evolution then?
– For me as a business owner, it’s an excellent thing and a huge benefit. To be able to control which playlists we use and at which time. If you think music is an important part of how you present your brand, then I don’t see a better solution than this. All the different ones I’ve tried before are just not as good.
One last question: If you could collaborate with anyone to help you pick your Bun Bun Truck soundtrack, who would that be and why?
– Fela Kuti springs instantly to mind. He makes great, uptempo music that would suit us well.