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.)

Ying Du

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.

Ying Du

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!

Lunchtime as a Food Adventure… The 38th St. (Chinese) Restaurant & Bakery (Now Known As Ying Du)


  • Really? A Bo Lao Bao and Pork Chop? Interesting. Sounds better than the mantou sandwiches again. Hahaha.

    Now that I think about it, I’d like to see a peking style/ sweet-n-sour pork chop on a bo lao bao! *DROOLS*

    I like bo lao bao but usually if it’s fillwd with custard, red bean paste or coconut. Mmmmm.

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    i’ve never seen a pork chop in bo lo bao before. i may want to try this if i can sum up the will power to stuff the pork chop in the bun before scarfing it down with the rice. that picture of the rice box makes my mouth water.

  • whoa that is a ton of food for 5.20

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    They definitely have bo lo bao in the mornings. I’ve tried them…and there seems to be all sort of varieties. I got a reg bo lo bao and one filled w/ custard. The custard filled was yummy. The reg bo lo was a little under-baked and still tasted like raw dough. =(

  • I have trouble finding the custard filled ones lately (anywhere)… I always buy it all excited and then it’s just a damn plain one. Fail.

  • Looks dangerous, but I’ll hit that.

  • Yeah, what is it with the custard bun shortage? I’ve recently been to both Flushing and Chinatown and had no luck. Fay Da on 34th never seems to have them either. WTF?

  • Yea, I’m surprised the pineapple custard bun has become a limited edition item when plenty of peeps will buy it. I have to explore chinatown for them sometime. At Fay Da, I always end up getting the Kaya Bun (pineapple bun with coconut jam filling) one. It’s not as good as the pineapple custard bun. Not sure if Tai Pan bakery has it either.

    Anyone ever eaten a pineapple bun with real pineapple filling (as the bo lo bao eaters know, there is no real pineapple whatsoever in the bun. It’s only called pineapple bun thanks to the look of the bun)? I’d like to try that if any bakery sold it.

  • @ TC they have buns with real pineapple in them during dim sum at Ping’s in Chinatown. Actually, I didn’t realize that pineapple bun is what people called custard buns. I thought pineapple buns were the ones with pineapple, and custard buns were the ones with custard…

  • @Zach – Cool. I’ve been to Ping’s before. Their dim sum is pretty good. At most dim sum places, I usually avoid the desserts and buns. Especially those tiny versions of what a real bun at a bakery should be. Haha.

    They look like the pineapple custard buns I’m used to, minus any pineapple chunks. Now I’m wondering if there are any chinese bakeries that make a regular sized one for sale. One can only hope there is.

    And I was actually picturing more of a warm pineapple pie-like filling, but maybe that’s too weird? Then again, they bake the pineapple buns filled with roast pork, red bean paste, etc.

  • get gangster; make the asian beef patty: curry puff thing (the half-moon pastry) and a pineapple bun (cracklin on top); cut the bun in half and stick the curry puff (ga-lei-gao) into the bun and dig in. serious.

  • I made this at home after reading the post. I bought the bun and cooked my own pork chop (asian style). It may be wise to flip the top of the pineapple bun so the sugary “pineapple” won’t fall off. Or smash it in with a fork like a lot of people do. Btw, it was awesome!

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