Sun Sai Gai
220 Canal Street
New York, NY 10013
My review on TripAdvisor:
Sun Sai Gai is a small restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. I have been coming here for years after discovering their selection of buns for sale for between $1.00-$1.50. Two of these buns are the perfect quick meal or afternoon snack. I love both their Roast Pork Baked Bun ($1.20) and their Steamed Pork Bun ($1.00). Both are soft buns that are loaded with sweet roast pork. They are huge and flavorful and I have always found them to be fresh (See review on TripAdvisor). They are a great snack when walking on the street.
The roast pork buns are excellent
Another recommendation on the sweet side is their Custard Buns ($1.00) and their Egg Tarts ($1.00), both of which are on the savory/sweet side. The custard buns are loaded with a cooked egg custard and topped with a baked sweet crumbly topping to add crispness to them. The Egg Tarts are in a large flaky tart shell and filled with a sweet baked egg custard. You will see a smaller version of these at the end of many Dim Sum lunches around Chinatown. They melt in your mouth with each bite.
Don’t miss their Red Bean buns as well ($1.25). They can be a little greasy but they are still good. They are filled with a sweet bean paste and almost taste like cinnamon. They are covered in sesame seeds so watch you teeth.
The red bean paste buns are a surprising treat
Eating a meal at Sun Sai Gai is an experience as well. Most of the meals I have had there have run between $6.00-$8.00 and are very simple. I have had the Lo Mein Noodles ($6.95) and the Roast Pork & Fried Rice plate ($6.95), both of which are piled high. The Roast Pork is the chopped meat from the front of the restaurant (as is the duck and chicken) and is made fresh daily. The Lo Mein was loaded with vegetables and small slices of meat and came out steaming hot yet a little on the oily side.
The roast pork and duck here are really good
It is a simple meal and don’t expect anything fancy. This is where the working people of Chinatown eat and in their quest for something authentic, a lot of tourists don’t find the food ‘suburban Chinese’ enough for them as I have seen on many online reviews.
It is not a fancy restaurant by any means but what it lacks in décor it more than makes up in food. I have always found the food to be nicely cooked and spiced. It is a ‘plate food’ type of dining experience, in that you will get a simple meal for a fair price and that’s why it attracts people from around Chinatown. They are looking a reasonable meal after a long day at work. More and more of there types of restaurants I am beginning to discover are opening around the outskirts of the tourist section of Chinatown and when the adventurous person walks in, it is met with some surprise from the locals.
Check out the to go menu and the Dim Sum snacks here
I have been seeing more tourists venture into Sun Sai Gai over the last few years due to its location and the gentrification around Chinatown squeezing the small restaurants out. If you are looking for a meal near the tourist district and you are on a budget and don’t mind a plain simple Chinese meal, Sun Sai Gai is for you.
(Prices to change over time)