Make Your Own Bo Lo Bao/Pork Chop Sandwich at Ying Du
To say I was inspired by this post on Fork in the Road about a pork chop stuffed bo lo bao would be an understatement. Mesmerized? Entranced? Seduced? Whatever you want to call it, seeing a pork chop sandwiched inside a sugar topped Chinese pineapple bun stirred up feelings in me of extreme desire. But how to get one of these creations? The piece mentioned that this treat is indigenous to Macao- but nothing about where to enjoy one here in New York City! Clearly I would have to take matters into my own hands, and go to the one place in Midtown that I knew had buns and pork chops: Ying Du (on 38th btw. 7+8th).
If you haven’t been to Ying Du yet, it’s pretty much the closest thing we have to Chinatown here in Midtown. Whereas Hing Won has done their best to be equally appealing to Americans and Chinese people- Ying Du has no such aspirations. It’s a super cheap, Garment District fast food place, by the Chinese, for the Chinese. Rather than attempt to get them to make the sandwich for me, I decided to just get pork chops as part of my lunch, order a bun on the side, and make the thing myself. Ying Du doubles as a Chinese bakery in the morning and after lunch (during lunch they usually have baked goods behind the counter.)
White rice, pork chops, roast pork (first time I’ve tried it since their roasting station in the front was closed by the DOH), and sauteed greens as my vegetable. The lady told me it would be an extra $2 to get all that food- but when I got to the front, the cashier only charged me $4.50. Wanting to be honest (it was only $2, and I always try to support places I like) I explained to the guy that it was *two* meats, *and* a vegetable… and he repeated- “Yup, $4.50″. Amazing. Ying Du is awesome. (Even though the lady laughed at me when I picked roast pork- as in “You are white, of course you pick roast pork!”)
Sadly though, their morning bun supply was severely depleted, and they didn’t expect the afternoon shipment to get there until around 1:30pm (about 30 minutes later.) Semi-dejected I took the last bun they had, a plain braided roll.
It did the trick, although clearly a pineapple bun, coconut bun, or even a sugar topped plain bun would have taken this sandwich to another level. Also, their pork chops weren’t breaded (or marinated in brandy) like the ones in Macao- but for Midtown it was still delicious. And for a total of $5.20 (the bun was 70 cents) I still had roast pork and sauteed greens over rice to eat *after* I finished my little sandwich. Awesome, although admittedly, the people who claim that the roast pork isn’t as good as it used to be, are dead on.
I guess the trick to enjoying this sandwich is to either get there just before noon when you might have a better chance of getting a good bun, or around 1:30 when the new shipment gets in (although, get there too late and you run a serious risk of them running out of pork chops.) In fact, I don’t even know for sure if Ying Du serves bo lo bao in particular (but they definitely have plain sugar topped buns, and coconut buns) and there is no guarantee there will be pork chops every day. In other words, getting one of these sandwiches is a tenuous operation at best… but if you manage to pull it off, the reward is most excellent!