Exactly one month ago, I wrote about the godawful roast pork bun from Sun Say Kai. Well, I’m happy to report, Sun Say Kai has redeemed themselves with the most awesome pineapple buns (bo lo bao) in Chinatown! I kid you not, these buns are the real deal. The bread itself is soft, dense, and chewy, as Chinese pastries tend to be, but what really makes the pineapple buns at Sun Say Kai better than most, is the extra-thick crunchy topping. The sweet crumbly top is practically cookie-like, and is definitely addictive if you like thin crispy sugar cookies made with lard.
Sun Say Kai sells plain pineapple buns ($0.70) and also custard cream or red bean filled buns. (For those sad souls who have never had the pleasure of a pineapple bun, these buns don’t contain any fruit. The buns are named so because the bumpy golden top resembles the outside of a pineapple.) I normally get the plain, although once I got a custard cream by accident, and it was horrible. The “custard” was gloppy and flavorless. Make sure to ask for the plain at the counter, unless you like gloppy flavorless fillings. I notice the usual guy at the counter will give you a custard filled bun by default if you don’t specify “plain” when ordering. In fact, he yelled at me last time when I said “plain” after he already grabbed a custard-filled pineapple bun with his tongs. Ahhh, don’t you love Chinatown?
As I mentioned in the previous post, Sun Say Kai also has roast duck. After some very mediocre roast duck and roast pork at Big Wong the week before, I was kind of excited to try the hanging meats at Sun Say Kai. I ordered the Roast Duck and Roast Pork over Rice ($5) and was somewhat satisfied. The roast pork (char siu) was deliciously charred and crispy at the edges, if a bit on the salty side. The duck was also a tad salty, but in addition, too lean and slightly anorexic. I like a little more meat on my ducks, à la LiLo pre-downward spiral.
So my search for good roast duck in Chinatown continues, but look no further for pineapple buns. At least for a few more posts that is…
Sun Say Kai
220 Canal Street (betw Baxter & Mulberry St)
New York, NY 10184