Thursday, May 1, 2008

Farewell, Mei Lai Wah

Very sad news today courtesy of Eater. Mei Lai Wah, the coffeehouse and Chinatown institution has shut its doors. FOREVER...

When Lawman first introduced me to Mei Lai Wah several years ago it was love at first bite. Their pork buns were the perfect snack. Round and cheap and satisfying. I favored the steamed pork buns, Lawman the baked pork buns. The roasted pork filling

Then I discovered the wonders of their coconut bun. A fluffy and soft sugar dusted bun with a delicious candied coconut paste in the center. I don't even like coconut, but these buns were transcendent. If you were lucky enough to get them fresh out, they would literally melt in your mouth.

I had it in my mind to visit Mei Lai Wah a couple of weeks ago, but I was too busy to stop in. Little did I know that would be my last chance. I still remember my last visit to Mei Lai Wah. I was taking some Southern friends on a taste of New York tour and before hitting the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory we stopped in Mei Lai Wah for some buns. It was the beginning of Chinese New Year. People were shooting off confetti canons in the street and the elderly gentlemen behind the counter were in the most jubilant mood I've ever seen. We bought a selection of buns and bid the counter guys farewell and happy New Year. Sigh.

I've taken many people to Mei Lai Wah and I regularly talk it up to friends and strangers alike. When I first read the news that the DOH had shut them down for a health violation, I was hopeful that they would reopen soon. Then I learned that they were closed for good. There aren't any hard facts, just rumors. But an Eater poster said that they were perhaps planning on closing in the coming months anyway and this was the last straw. I had to go check out the sign and see for my self, I just couldn't believe it. It's way too sad.

Thank you, Mei Lai Wah for 40 years of wonderful food. You will be sorely missed.


Genevieve said...

I was in Chinatown 2 weeks ago too and was meaning to go get some char siu bao but other goodies lured me away and now I just wanna kick myself. :o(

Apparently the older is old and disabled thus he decided to close the business for good. :o(

There's a bakery name Dragon Land, my hubby likes their coconut custard bread, you may like try that. :o)

I am still in search of better tasting cha siu baos which hopefully are lurking somewhere in Chinatown. :o)

Brownie said...

I totally know what you mean! I can't believe I was "too busy" to have what would have been my last buns. So sad.

That's too bad to here that the owner is disabled and can't continue the business. I wish him and his colleagues all the best. Chinatown won't be the same without them.

I'm def going to check out Dragon Land. And if you find some excellent cha siu bao, please do drop us a line. We'll also continue the quest. :)