Chinatown, Restaurants

The Most Awesome Pineapple Bun in Chinatown…and Some Meat – NYC

April 28, 2009 | 14 Comments

pineapple bun @ sun say kai

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?

roast pork & duck @ sun say kai

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

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  • kathryn at 3:52 pm on April 28, 2009

    Have you been to Roasted Delights?

  • bionicgrrrl at 4:45 pm on April 28, 2009

    @kathryn – I haven’t, but I’ve been meaning to go. The roast suckling pig looks killer! So many places to eat, so little time…

  • James at 6:58 pm on April 28, 2009

    Looks like I’ve got a stop to make for dessert prologue on the way to banana pudding. Have you tried the walnut broccoli shrimp at Big Wong? I don’t even like shrimp that much, and I’m a convert.

  • bionicgrrrl at 11:45 am on April 29, 2009

    @James – No, I haven’t. I usually get the shrimp and walnuts at Congee Village. I love the candied walnuts there. I’ll try the shrimp next time I go to Big Wong, but my last meal was a big bust. Cold roast pork, and thick slimey chow fun.

  • Danny at 12:50 am on April 30, 2009

    Mmm… that looks delicious. Usually I cross the street and go into Dragonland for something like that. But yea, you can’t really go wrong with that stuff. That yellow stuff is just fat + flour, right?

  • bionicgrrrl at 3:22 am on April 30, 2009

    @Danny – Yup, sugar, lard, egg, and flour. According to Wikipedia, pineapple buns are one of the “top 10 most harmful snack foods in Hong Kong.” Top ten, oh yeah!!!

  • wonders at 3:18 pm on April 30, 2009

    I was never fond of bo lo baos growing up cause I would get sad when there was nothing inside and the crumbs always, ALWAYS get all over the front of my shirt…-=( I actually haven’t had a bo lo bao in like um….20 years lols

  • bionicgrrrl at 2:30 pm on May 1, 2009

    @wonders – But there is something inside, delicious squishy carbs!

  • wonders at 3:01 pm on May 1, 2009

    LOLS You’re so silly!! You know what’s funny, I went to my parents last night for dinner and my mom walked by there and saw the char siew and got some. Like you said, it was saltier than the one’s I’ve had before, I wasn’t a fan. Whenever I go there, I usually get the chinese sausage bun -=X It’s kinda nostalgic. lol

  • bionicgrrrl at 10:05 am on May 2, 2009

    @wonders – Maybe your mom secretly reads my blog! ;) My blog is cool in the 50+ bracket.

  • uken at 11:05 am on May 4, 2009

    i grew up with pineapple buns!!!!!!!!!

  • bionicgrrrl at 12:28 pm on May 7, 2009

    @uken – You must have had a great childhood!

  • Amos at 10:29 am on December 29, 2013

    But is there pork inside? That’s how they’re made in Hong Kong…

  • bionicgrrrl at 11:16 am on December 30, 2013

    @Amos – This one was plain. They have plain and custard filled ones here. Pork-filled can be found at nearby bakeries.

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