Lunch Today: Pork Buns From Golden Steamer

Lunch Today

Lunchtime adventures from the Serious Eats editors.


[Photo: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

What can you get for 80¢ in your town?

Here in New York you can purchase:

  • 5.6 minutes of viewing time at a standard movie theater (or 4.2 minutes in an IMAX theater).
  • Most of a pack of gum.
  • 14% of a bottle of Mexican Coke.
  • 1/20th of an hour-long time share on a Zipcar.
  • Two and a half pearls of tapioca from the first course of a tasting menu at Per Se.
  • A hot and filling lunch at Golden Steamer in Chinatown.

Golden Steamer* is about as no-frills as you can get. A menu printed on the wall, a walk-up counter, a couple of stools against the wall that are used not for customers but for stacking boxes, and a single cash register. But what it lacks in decor it makes up in value.

*Is it remarkably immature of me to giggle every time I hear that name?

A few weeks back we mentioned the pumpkin buns: softly steamed bright yellow pastry around a sweet and savory mashed pumpkin filling.

As much as I dig squash, I personally prefer the more savory pork and mushroom option. For three quarters and a nickel, you get one of the tenderest, moistest steamed buns in town with a salty and substantial pork stuffing intensely flavored with dried shiitake mushrooms. I can't think of a tastier, more substantial way to fill your stomach for under a buck (and that includes dollar slices).


Gray's Papaya used to have the best lunch deal in town until their dogs underwent massive inflation from 50¢ to their current price of over a dollar. Perhaps it's time for a new mini chain to conquer this town.

Golden Steamer

143 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013 (map) 212-226-1886