I still can't believe I'll never get to sample the roast pork and coconut buns from Mei Lai Wah. I'm still in the shock and denial moving swiftly towards the anger stage of grief, but some of the posters at Chowhound have taken a healthier approach and have moved towards acceptance and are searching for new alternatives. Last night I went to bid Mei Lai Wah farewell in person and see if I could find a roast pork and coconut bun that would stack up.
Upon reading a recommendation for Lucky King Bakery on Grand St. I decided to check it out in person.
Just a block from the B/D stop at Grand street it was really easy to get to. When I arrived several tables were occupied and their bakery case was looking a bit emptier than I imagine it is earlier in the day, but they were by no means out of buns. After assessing the situation I ordered two Roast Pork buns and two coconut buns (the long thing one looked sort of like the Mei Lai Wah bun, sniffle). I couldn't figure out the price breakdown because I couldn't read the signs on the steam case, and it seemed like everything was 80 cents. But somehow those 4 buns ended up costing me only $1.75. Not bad at all.
I met up with Lawman shortly there after and we dug into our goodies. The roast pork bun was actually quite good. It was stuffed with tons of roast pork including a like 1 inch cube of the good stuff. And if I'm being perfectly honest it was less fatty (as in less little fattybits) than my beloved Mei Lai Wah, but the filling was also more dry than saucy. Flavorwise it was a bit sweeter than the roast pork buns from Mei Lai Wah and it had more of the barbecue flavor of the little cha siu baau you get at dim sum but much much bigger, which the Mei Lai Wah buns had more of the true roasted pork flavor backed into their brown sauce.
The coconut buns were interesting. The Mei Lai Wah lookalike bun actually was like a Chinese coconut cheese danish. Good, but totally not what I was expecting. The round coconut bun had the candied coconut paste that was more like the Mei Lai Wah coconut, but the bun was crustier. It would do in a pinch, but I missed the soft, fluffy consistency of the Mei Lai Wah bun. Good options, but no substitutes in my book. If you like cheese danish (which I don't really), the long coconut bun would be a good bet. I'd be more likely to go back for their pork buns if I'm in the neighborhood.
One of the best things I saw though were the panda cakes for 85 cents. Awesome!