It was quite an adventure trying to go downtown for just about 1.5 miles. First, we hopped on a bus which to our surprise terminated service after one block. We then decided to jumped onto a nearby subway train, but after one stop, it went out of service and they told all the passengers to stand at the platform for another train. We walked over to a different platform and was able to catch another train. After a few obstacles, we made it to the Columbus Park in Chinatown, the meeting point for the Pork Bun Crawl.
Look at the crowd!
This is the first NYC Food Crawl that I attended. They’ve held other crawls in the past: dumplings, samosas, hot chocolate, and falafel. So this is how it worked… the crowd divides themselves into small groups, each with a team leader. We are given a list of restaurants and a map with the locations marked.
There were six locations on the list.
- Lung Moon Bakery – 81 Mulberry St, between Bayard and Canal St
- Tai Pan Bakery – 194 Canal St, between Mott and Mulberry St
- Fay Da Bakery – 83 Mott St, at Canal
- Mei Li Wah Bakery – 64 Bayard St, between Elizabeth and Mott St
- Golden Fung Wong Bakery – 41 Mott St, Bayard and Pell St
- Vegetarian Dim Sum House – 24 Pell St, Mott and Bowery St
We visited 4 out of the 6, but only ordered at 2 of the places. We decided to skip Tai Pan Bakery and Fay Da Bakery since those are the two that we frequently visit. Those are the two bakeries I usually go for my Chinese baked goods.
Our first stop was Lung Moon Bakery. I was not familiar with this one. It’s a small bakery. Unfortunately, when we went there they had already ran out of steamed pork buns. Actually they were out of most of their steamed buns and only had a couple lingering in the display. We picked up some pork and vegetable steamed buns and a Chinese sausage bun. The pork and vegetable steamed bun was ok, but not that great.
The other bakery we visited as the Mei Li Wah Bakery. I’ve heard many good things about this bakery, but was never able to remember its location whenever I wanted to go there. When we got there, they were out of steamed pork buns and only had baked ones, so we picked up some baked ones. The baked pork buns here were smaller than the ones I’m used to at Fay Da or Tai Pan. They were quite good. The exterior of the pork bun was kind of sticky. I noticed that they put some kind of sugary glaze over the bun. I’m not sure how I feel about the sugary glaze. After a few bites, the pork bun started to taste like a sweet bun rather than a savory bun.
I was amused and chuckled a bit when I overheard the people at Mei Li Wah Bakery wondering about the large crowds of Caucasians coming in asking for steamed pork buns. They concluded that it was probably a vacation tour group.
We walked over to the Vegetarian Dim Sum House. This is more of a sit down restaurant rather than a bakery. I dined here once before and really enjoyed their vegetarian dishes with the tofu, seitan, and mock meats. I ate mock roast pork buns before and I enjoyed them They look like the real thing, but the texture is different. It’s much softer and lighter than real (char siu) roast pork. I like mock char siu in other dishes, but for a pork bun, I’d go with the real meat bun. Anyway, we walked in the restaurant, but there was already a very long wait for takeout orders of pork buns. They usually steam the buns as the orders are placed, and with all these orders ahead of us, we were probably going to have a wait a long while. We considered wandering off the route and finding somewhere else to eat, but then decided to end the crawl and headed to Broadway to go shopping. We picked up some Doufuhua (Chinese tofu pudding) on the way. Yummy!
The organizer of the NYC Food Crawl tried to notify these bakeries and restaurants about the food crawl, but encountered language barriers, since most of these places spoke Chinese or limited English. It would have been extra awesome if the bakeries were prepared for the big crowd. Fay Da and Tai Pan are wonderful chain bakeries but we weren’t really excited to go to those places since we are familiar with their buns, and was hoping to discover more places for tasty pork buns. Anyway, it was still lot of fun! I finally got found where Mei Li Wah Bakery is.
Here’s some pictures I took along the way:
Steamed Pork and Vegetable Bun and Steamed Chinese Sausage Bun from Lung Moon Bakery
Outside Mei Li Wah Bakery
Outside the Vegetarian Dim Sum House
Outside Fay Da Bakery
I was hoping to find more new places for pork buns, but for now, I think it’s back to Fay Da Bakery.
Thanks NYC Food Crawl for organizing the event!
Excited to hear about the next food crawl!
And that concludes my full day of food events!