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Manhattan Char Siu Bao

The Great Char Siu Bao Debate


Restaurants & Bars 138

The Great Char Siu Bao Debate

guttergourmet | Dec 26, 2008 04:37 AM

OK-in my pursuit of the best char siu bao in the naked city (second only to the the search for the best banh mi, pizza, hot dog, burger, oysters, etc. ,etc.) I need help. First of all, let's set the parameters. We are only talking pork buns, not hot dog, pineapple, coconut, mystery meat, etc. For me, it's gotta be baked not steamed. Now here's where it gets interesting. The Board hailed the reopening of Mei Li Wah on Pell along with the return of their char siu bao with almost as much enthusiasm as I had celebrating the reopening of the 2nd Ave. Deli. While they certainly have the freshest buns (no doubt owing to the tremendous turnover) I do not find their baked pork buns superior to other bakeries. Now I prefer the filling to be Chinese roast pork with the sweet Chinese barbecue sauce. Red coloring is optional but a good indicator of my preference. Mei Li Wah, although very good, is more the pork belly or perhaps pork shoulder variety, more onions and no sweet sauce. In fact, my criticism was that the pork often has a harder chewy bit of fat in it as compared to many other buns I've had. I don't have an absolute favorite bakery, particularly since they are often cold or stale depending upon timing. Lately I've liked Carriage House just south of Canal on Essex. Thank God I have a forum where the important things in life can be discussed rather than the economy, politics, etc., etc. And at an average price of $0.80 per bun, I am doing my bit to stave off starvation during the current depression and corrupt administration.

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