Well, this is awkward. I‘ve never imagined finding ourselves in this situation, but here we are, fighting for our beloved Ong Ong Buns’ survival and we need your help.
Aaron, one half of Ong Ong Buns
Ong Ong who?
Ong Ong Buns is a Chinese bakery run by the husband-and-wife team: Icy Mo from Malaysia and Aaron Mo from London and Hong Kong. We‘re famous for forcing people to pronounce the Malay word “kuih,” generating a mass craze for cookies during Lunar New Year, creating original baked goods like the edible pacifier aka Beer Curry Puff, the moreish “Ong Ong Nom,“ and publishing irrelevant stories about our cat Momo.
Curry puffs are a three-bite pasty with mild curry filling. Works as a child pacifier too, just ask our Shoreditch customers.
The bread version of crack. It's totally legal too
Momo is our pet cat and mascot
The bakery was founded during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. Seems like a lifetime ago now, eh? Just like you, we walked aimlessly around London during lockdown and got bored of constantly having to choose to eat a sandwich, croissant, burger, or pizza. Why are there so few grab-and-go options in this multicultural city?! We decided we needed to change that.
Since then, Ong Ong Buns has become a neighbourhood favourite in Shoreditch and expanded to Covent Garden. We gained notoriety for the quality of our food, and also because of Aarons anti-sales approach. His refreshing honesty and hilarious charm got people talking.
Our Deliveroo menu went viral
‘Qu-eee', 'qu-ay' or 'that thing [and point]’? Either way, this sweet and salty knih was Aaron’s least favioute Malaysian patisserie and he‘s vocal about it.
And then Ong Ong grew
Our bakery got so popular that we were often sold out (before closing time). Yes, yes, you all said that‘s a sign of a good business, but I could see the disappointment in your eyes when you couldn’t get a bun or a pastry. And we at Ong Ong want happy, not hungry customers.
Luckily, last month we were able to secure investment to hire staff and buy more equipment. This allowed us to bake more tasty treats. We were able to hire expert bakers and develop vegan versions of our baked goods. We even began developing a vegan “char siu bun.”
Access to new funds and export support also meant that we could join Kerb, the food incubator at Covent Garden’s Seven Dials. Joining the incubator meant that Aaron didn‘t have to wing-it alone anymore and that Ong Ong Buns could become a staple of the city. We were building the foundations needed to expand and establish ourselves as part of London’s culture and its food scene.
Ong Ong gone.
Unfortunately, on 29 April at 21:16pm, we received an unexpected ‘I‘m dumping you’ text message from the investor: He later claimed that the message was a starting point to ”talk about our relationship,“ but it’s difficult to interpret the text as that since he wrote ”you hav [sic] to think about closing the contract with ur [sic] landlady.“ This is why important matters should never be done via text message.
Within 48 hours, Ong Ong Buns would cease operating. The investor pulled out all his money - money that was meant for wages - and started selling the equipment he purchased. We lost all the bakers, including Mum who couldn‘t take the stress, and Icy had to look for a job so that the family could live.
We couldn‘t bake and had nothing to sell. We had to close our shops. Aaron is the only one left fighting for the bakery’s survival.
Ong Ong love.
Since closing, we had been inundated with support and kind words about our food and the friendly atmosphere that we created. We are still passionate about giving you quality Chinese baked goods. We want to keep Ong Ong Buns alive for you! But we need your help.
If we restart the bakery, we must operate at a loss again – paying for legal fees (£4,000), rebuy stock that’s gone bad during our hiatus (£1,000), pay for rent during the time when we closed and build a new team of bakers (£4,000), pay staff (£14,000), and rebuy all the equipment sold by the previous investor (£7,000). We essentially need to start again from scratch.
If we raise our £30,000 target quickly, we will consider extending our crownfunding target and look for a permanent site for the bakery. Our current contract runs until the end of July, which means we need an extortionary amount for legal fees, deposits, moving equipment, and interior design, if we are to continue (and we so want to continue and thrive!).
Ways you can help:
- Make a donation via GoFundMe
- Donate via other channels:
o Cheques: Ong Ong Buns, 122 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6DG
o Bank transfer: 04-00-04 42948354
- Join our team! Want a job? Do you know how to bake char siu bun? Can you make a silly number of buns in a day? Have you worked in a commercial kitchen? Mum is retired from baking, and we are actively looking for a new head baker.
Have a hanky ready …
Aaron is writing this crowdfunding page and it's nerve-wracking for him. In the past, he had been very open about being dyslexic and autistic, and that it causes crippling anxiety when doing public writing. The recent event has also been confidence-bashing.
In the back of his mind, he is telling himself to give-up, as his communication style will convey an empty message and will put people-off supporting Ong Ong Buns. Icy’s convinced him not to overthink and give this a shot. This is for Icy as much as for you guys…
By donating you will be supporting a small, family-owned bakery realise their dream. You will also be supporting ESEA founders and people with disabilities, which are communities that are often overlooked and unconsidered in the diverse city of London. Ong Ong Buns thanks you for your support!
Ong Ong reward
- Donate over £50: mention your favourite song in the comments and we will include it to the Ong Ong Buns Spotify playlist . Note: anything jazz or have the saxophone ‘going off on one’ will be vetoed. Pick wisely.
- Donate over £200: be invited to try one of our special collabs before the public release. Details announced later.
- Donate over £500: be invited to try all our special collabs before the public release. Details announced later.
- Donate over £7,000: anything jazz or has the saxophone ‘going off on one’ will be added to the Ong Ong Buns Spotify playlist .