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Sep 26, 2012 04:47 AM

Where to buy char siu, just meat without the bun, in Manhattan?

I'm suddenly inspired to make a pork bun pie, so I need enough of that delicious lean, saucy pork to fill a 9" pie. I am not a Chinatown expert but I assume this is possible? Where should I go?

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  1. Big Wong at 67 Mott Street and Great NY Noodletown at Canal and Bayard are your best bets.

    Great New York Noodletown:

    2 Replies
    1. re: scoopG

      Those are great.
      They also have plenty of roasted meats in the newer supermarkets on Mott, Elizabeth, etc.

      1. re: mitchleeny

        Kam Man at 200 Canal does as well - but Big Wong and and GNYN have the freshest.

    2. If you see a Chinses store with roasted ducks/chickens/pork meat hanging in the window, wait around and check out 2 things: do the strips of hanging meat look appetizing? are there other customers buying the meat? If yes to both, then chances are you just identify a potential source of char siu.

      Kam Man at 200 Canal used to always had a line of customers waiting (inside the grocery store by the counter at the "duck window") . I shopped there for the tastiest shao kao (Cantonese cook-roast meats) for over 20 years. Then one day the familiar face of the man behind the counter was gone. The person with the new face said, "He retired." I think that event coupled with the death of the grocery store's Grande Dame (owner) had impacted the business. The line is not like it was before. It's been quite a few years now. I still shop there but I do miss the old Kam Man very much.

      1. Mulberry Butcher shop has what I consider the best char siu for my taste-on the south side of Canal on Mulberry Street.

        1. Thanks everyone! And is it pretty common to just order the BBQ meat by itself? Any idea how much it runs for?

          I know, I should know this, but I never go into Chinatown anymore unless it's Bangkok Grocery.

          3 Replies
          1. re: marzipanda

            Depending on where you purchase, food markets will be around $6/lb. ...and restaurants may charge as high as $8/lb. I recall there are some quick rice plate take-out shops that offer a good amount of char shiu for $3 with rice that may be an option, but I always found the meats to be too lean and dry.

            As a matter of note...if you are looking for lean roast pork, you really need to inspect different pieces of hanging Red Roast Pork to determine which pieces are suitable for your needs and tastes. Char Shiu is made with Pork Butt and by nature it is not a lean cut.....this will be wherever you decide to go. I

            1. re: marzipanda

              It's very common to buy BBQ meat by itself. Whole pieces are used for festival & worship. BBQ meat is quick "takeway" for the meat dish at family style dinner at home, so you order it on it's own, not as part of a rice box.

              It's common to ask for lean char siu, I do it often, but I speak Cantonese so there is no language barrier. You can also request they don't pour extra sauce over it (they tend to do it by default if you buy cha siu). Also, by default they will cut it up for you, if you want to cut it up yourself, you have to ask them to not cut it.

              It should be noted, I did once get a friendly lecture for requesting lean roast pork :-)

              1. re: marzipanda

                i actually ask for half fat / half lean although that's b/c i like fatty pieces

                in singapore they have a cut called "bu tian jian" meaning doesn't see day and its the cut of pork effectively in the pork armbit (sounds lovely), which is more fatty and is really delicious

              2. Tons of places sell it and a a lot of them are pretty gross. I would really listen to what ScoopG said in the first post and go to one of the 2 places mentioned. Its gross when you see them manhandle your char siu with bare hands.