Another day, another Instagram-founded (and pandemic-fueled), food-related project that we hope is actually here to stay once things go back to normal. Vietnamese-French pastry business Bánh by Lauren is the brainchild of Lauren Tran, who worked as the pastry cook at Gramercy Tavern until the virus hit last year, and now sells boxes filled with ethnic treats that look and taste wonderful straight from the social media platform.
Every Monday at NOON, the 32-year-old posts the weekly menu on offer on her Instagram account. Sweet tooths then DM the chef to reserve a box, which is usually available for pickup the following Saturday. Tran tells us she sells 40 boxes a week.
For $40 per box (10% of which is always redirected to a charitable cause mentioned on the menu), customers get their hands on all sorts of macarons, Thai tea and condensed milk chiffon cakes, French almond cakes, pandan chiffon cakes with coconut mousse ("definitely the favorite!"), different types of cookies and more. A Vietnamese "dessert of the week" is always included as well. Previous boxes featured the likes of bánh bò (chewy steamed tapioca and rice cake with layers of pandan and mung bean), bánh cam/bánh rán (rice sesame balls filled with mung bean) and bánh khoai mì nướng (a cassava cake with coconut milk).
Although based in New York, Tran has had to unexpectedly re-locate to Seattle for the past two months to care for her father. Once there, she pastry guru decided to try and sell her boxes from her hometown as well—an idea that was met with tremendous excitement by the local community. Her pastries have been selling out in minutes all throughout Seattle.
Preparing to head back to New York on May 3 and resuming her business here, Tran has, according to Eater, also been poached about a possible return to Gramercy Tavern. Whether she'll trade her Instagram-driven start-up for a more traditional role—or, perhaps, work on both projects in tandem—is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: you're going to want to taste her Vietnamese-French sweets as soon as possible.
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