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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

Most people probably stop in at Mei Li Wah to get some of the bakery's famous roast pork buns to go, but you can also eat in for a budget-priced lunch or dinner. Just sit in one of their booths and order from a menu of congee, rice noodle rolls, noodle soups, dim sum dishes, bubble tea, and more.

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But start with a baked roast pork bun (80ยข). These soft, glazed buns have a hearty, fatty filling that isn't too sweet or skimpy like I've found with other roast pork buns (this example is forever burned in my mind). While I'm generally a bigger fan of steamed bread, their steamed pork buns have a too high bread-to-filling ratio; it's best to go with the baked version.

Their fresh shrimp rice noodle rolls ($3.25) lived up to the name; the shrimp—tucked into rolls of light, soft, slightly chewy rice noodle sheets—were exceptionally tender and crisp.

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Oops, looks like one bun got over-poked.

For dessert, get egg yolk buns (three for $2.25), small steamed buns with hot (really, don't eat them right away), gooey, sweet and slightly salty egg yolk-enhanced centers, sort of like custard mixed with frosting.

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I plan on going back for more pork and egg buns, but also to find out what the "fried salad" and "crispy egg shatters" dishes on the menu are.

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... And to find out what's up with the stumps near the ceiling.

Mei Li Wah Bakery

64 Bayard Street, New York NY 10013 (b/n Mott and Elizabeth; map)
212-966-7866

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