Tag Archives: Sun Sai Gai

Sun Sai Gai Restaurant

Sun Sai Gai 220 Canal Street New York, NY 10013

Don’t miss Sun Sai Gai for afternoon snacks.

Sun Sai Gai IV

I love the selection of food here.

Sun Sai Gai

Dining on a Shoe String in NYC

Sun Sai Gai

220 Canal Street

New York, NY  10013

(212) 964-7256

Hours: 7:00am-8:30pm


My review on TripAdvisor:


Sun Sai Gai is a small restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. I have been coming here for years after discovering their selection of buns for sale for between $1.00-$1.50. Two of these buns are the perfect quick meal or afternoon snack. I love both their Roast Pork Baked Bun ($1.20) and their Steamed Pork Bun ($1.00). Both are soft buns that are loaded with sweet roast pork. They are huge and flavorful and I have always found them to be fresh (See review on TripAdvisor). They are a great snack when walking on the street.

Sun Sai Gai II

The roast pork buns are excellent

Another recommendation on the sweet side is their Custard Buns ($1.00) and their Egg Tarts ($1.00), both of which are on the savory/sweet side. The custard buns are…

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Chinese New Year at the Asian Grille in East Rutherford, NJ

Day One Hundred and Three: ‘Xin Nian Hao’ ‘Gong Hei Fat Choi’ or “Happy Chinese New Year”! February 2018 (Revisited February 2020)

Xin Nian Hao Everyone!

Happy Chinese New Year! (2018) & Happy New Year Again (2020)

After a long day in the Soup Kitchen (I have to stop doubling up events on days), instead of finishing the walk of the Upper East Side, I decided to head downtown to Chinatown for the first day of Chinese New Year. What a madhouse!

First off, it was a gloomy day. The clouds kept threatening rain which finally came around 4:00 pm but it did not damper everyone’s spirits. The city closed off the main streets of Chinatown, so people were able to walk around Mott, Mulberry, Bayard, Elizabeth Streets and all the side streets around the core of Chinatown.

It was a very festive afternoon of Lion Dances in front of businesses and a non-stop of silly string and firecrackers going off all over the neighborhood. It was fun watching all the kids with the help of their parents set off these long cylinders of confetti and streamers. Nothing gets lost in the translation of the holiday as it was a very diverse crowd of people enjoying the beginning of the New Year. I was able to walk around the neighborhood and watch all the families having a ball watching the lions and the musicians play music and dance in front of the businesses that requested them.

The meaning of firecrackers translates to ‘Baozhu’ or ‘exploding bamboo’ that was used in early years to scare off the evil spirits at the beginning of the New Year. It seems that there was a legend of a monster called ‘Nain’, who used to destroy homes every New Year and the use of burning bamboo used to pop to scare him away. Bamboo was replaced with the invention of fireworks. The cylinder tubes are all colored ‘red’ which is a lucky color in the Chinese culture.

I watched the Lion Dances all over Chinatown. These according to custom are to ward away evil spirits from the businesses and bring prosperity  for the New Year. There must have been over a dozen of cultural groups from all over the city hired to visit the businesses during the afternoon. It seems that the loud cymbals evict the bad and evil spirits (the picture above is the ‘Lion Dance’ from the  Chinese New Year Celebration that I ran for the Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library in 2011 at the Asian Grill in East Rutherford, NJ).

I walked all over the side streets of Chinatown and stopped in Sara D. Roosevelt Park for the opening festivities of the New Year that were sponsored by Better Chinatown USA. The place was mobbed with people. All the kids were playing games or the families were socializing with one another. It was so busy that I took a walk around the neighborhood, walking through the fringes of what is left of expansion of Chinatown into the Lower East Side, which is quickly gentrifying. The Lower East Side has gotten very hip over the years.

When I rounded the corner at Hester Street, I came across Chicken V (see review on TripAdvisor) at 124C Hester Street, a small Taiwanese fried chicken place that I found out has a branch in Brooklyn. I decided to order something different and got the Chicken Omelet, which was a chicken wing stuffed with fried rice, the popcorn chicken, which was made with thigh meat. I ordinarily hate this but they did a great job with the seasoning and OFC French Fries. Everything had a salty, garlicky taste to it and the popcorn chicken I could taste a hint of ginger and garlic in it. If you like salty food this is the place for you.

Chinatown Parade

Chinese New Year Parade

I walked around the Bowery and crossed back over into the heart of Chinatown as it started to rain. It had been threatening all day and it started to pour after 4:00pm. The last of the Lion Dancers were performing outside a business on Mott Street and all the restaurants at that point were still busy with people wanting to get out of the rain. The streets were quiet but were loaded with the remains of firecracker streamers and confetti.

My last stop in Chinatown before I headed uptown was Sun Sai Gai See review on TripAdvisor & DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) at 220 Canal Street, which has been my go-to place for roast pork buns ($1.00). I love this place. It is a little on the dumpy side but it is one of the best hole-in-the-wall places in Chinatown and I have always enjoyed it.

Sun Sai Gai.png

Sun Sai Gai in Chinatown at 220 Canal Street

As it poured rain, I saw the last of the people begin to leave Chinatown. To celebrate the beginning of the New Year was a lot of fun. There was a lot of energy in Chinatown. People of all ages and races were enjoying the festivities and families really were enjoying their time together.


Chinese New Year 2020:

In 2020, the weather was almost the same thing. The day of the Fire Cracker Festival and Lion Dance it rained and drizzled the whole day. I had to be uptown the whole morning and afternoon so it was a not a nice day to be in Chinatown.

For the parade day, the sun came out and it was really pleasant for most of the parade. With it being an election year, both Congressman Chuck Schumer and Mayor Bill DiBlasio were marching in the parade. So there was a lot of security around. The beginning of the parade had the Lion and Dragon Dances and those were really energetic. The bands really got the crowd going.

Chinese New Year Parade 2020

The Chinese New Year Parade 2020

The Jade Society (the Asian Police Society) and the Phoenix Society (Fire Fighters and Paramedics) were out in full force. I swear the Jade Society has tripled since the last parade I went to two years ago or else they were not all out.

Then came all the floats for all the business and cultural organization. Because of the Flu pandemic going on in China and spreading all over the world, a lot of the groups were handing out literature and giving their support of the Mother Country. Some of the churches were handing out prayer pamphlets.

Chinese New Year Parade 2020 II

The Chinese New Year Parade 2020

The most heartening thing was all the little Girl and Boy Scouts from the local groups. Those kids were so cute. They looked so proud and the parents proud of their children.

The end of the parade it was all political groups and then a long line of sports cars. The parade was over in about an hour or maybe just a little longer. The one thing I did notice was that the crowd was not the same as usual. It usually is much busier in Chinatown for the parade and I could see that the gift shops had a lot Chinese poppers and firecrackers left over, more than usual. Two years ago everyone sold out by the end of the parade and there were none to be found. This year they started to discount them as soon as the parade was over.

This Chinese flu is really scaring people and I think it kept them away from Chinatown today. I have never seen the parade route so quiet or the restaurants busy but not as busy as usual this year. It has really spooked people this year.

Still for the most part is was a sunny day and as the afternoon wore down it got a little cooler. I just went around visiting my favorite snack shops like Tao Hong Bakery at 81 Chrystie Street and Chi Dumpling House at 77 Chrystie Street for lunch and dessert. I swear the ‘Hipsters’ have discovered both places and most of the customers now are white. It is such a change from ten years ago where it was mostly locals.

Chinese Buns III

Don’t miss the delicious buns at Sun Sai Gai

Chi Dumpling House (see reviews on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com) is one of my favorite places to eat. It is really bare bones but their steamed and fried dumplings you can get eight for $3.00 and that is a steal. Their soups are really good on a cold day especially their hot and sour soup. Their noodle dishes are wonderful and the portion sizes are rather large.

Tao Hung Bakery

Tao Hung Bakery at 81 Chrystie Street

I still go to my old favorites Tao Hong Bakery 81 Chrystie Street and Sun Sai Gai at 220 Canal Street for my favorite Cream, Roast Pork and Pineapple buns. At between $1.00 to $1.50 they are well worth the money. It really warrants a trip to Chinatown.

Chi Dumpling House

Don’t miss Chi Dumpling House at 77 Chrystie Street for their delicious dumplings

Even though there was a damper on the parade with the flu scare, people were in good spirits and looked like they were having a good time. That’s where the fun really is in celebrating what is positive in this crazy world.

This CBS Report is what the mood is right now:


(I credit CBS News for this report)

Sorry folks but that can’t keep me away from Chinatown. It will always throw my support first to small business people and restaurateurs. This why I created the sites LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com to support businesses not such in New York City but all over the Tri-State area.

Isn’t it what the New Year is all about?

Gong Hei Fat Choi!

There was an underlining problem on parade day of the Coronavirus outbreak in China and how it affected business that day. Here is a video shot later on that tells the story since Chinese New Year:

When things head back to normal, head back to Chinatown for lunch or dinner.


Places to Visit:


Chinatown New York City

All Along Mott, Canal, Bayard and Chrystie Streets and Sara Delano Roosevelt Park

Every February for the start of the Lunar New Year Festival (Started January 28th in 2020)


Places to Eat:


Chicken V

124C Hester Street

New York, NY  10002


(718) 255-9222

Now Closed


Sun Sai Gai

220 Canal Street

New York, NY 10013

(212) 964-7212

My review on TripAdvisor:


My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:



Tao Hong Bakery

81 Chrystie Street

New York, NY  10002

(212) 219-0987

Open: Sunday-Saturday: 7:00am-7:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:


My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:



Chi Dumpling House

77 Chrystie Street

New York, NY  10002

Telephone: (212) 219-8850

My review on TripAdvisor:

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4277315-Reviews-C_L_Dumpling_House-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905 Sunday-Saturday-10:00am-10:00pm

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:




Chinese New Year Parade

Day Thirty-Eight: Happy Chinese New Year! February 2016

Have you ever experienced a parade in 19 degree weather? I just did. Today was the Annual Chinese New Year Parade in New York City and I spent the morning watching the parade travel down Mott Street, the heart of New York City’s Chinatown. There was a large crowd for such a cold day.

The worst was the night before it was 0 degrees outside with a wind chill factor of 10 below. I felt like I was sleeping in Alaska. The breezes were the worst as the heat was on in the house and still it was cold.

We lucked out with the weather as it was a beautiful sunny day outside and at least when the sun hit, it started to get a little bit warmer. For a parade that was standing in a refrigerator, it was fun. The sights and sounds of the music as the lion dancers performed their dances. The contestants from the ‘Miss Chinatown’ contest were waving to the crowds with much enthusiasm.

It was not a particularly long parade. The parade was mostly made up of Chinese businesses, Lion Dance groups and small bands. The parade was lead off by the NYPD Marching band and honor guard and by members of the Asian Jade Society, the Asian version of the Vulcan Society or the many organizations for Italian or Irish NYPD members.

What surprised me was how young they all were, mostly in their 20’s and 30’s leading me to wander when the first wave of Americans with Chinese decadency entered the NYPD. The oldest person their was a detective that looked about my age and I really wandered what his career must have been like in the late 80’s or early 90’s with the NYPD. The rest of the members were these fresh faced guys who looked right out of the academy while this guy looked hardened from years on the job. It is amazing what years on the same job can do to a person.

The atmosphere was electric as with every passing float poppers filled with confetti and streamers were let off and confetti flew over the whole parade. I heard so many different languages in the crowd especially German and French, I wondered how many New Yorkers ventured down for the parade.

Chinese New Year 2015

The Chinese New Year Parade

The parade ended with many floats for the airlines and one last lion dance that included four different colored lions. I was impressed on how long this parade goes. It just does not go down Mott Street and ends. It goes up and around Chinatown going up East Broadway to the other side of Chinatown that has creeped into the Lower East Side. What has thrown me is how much of this neighborhood has gentrified in the last five years.

As I walked the streets on the edges of Chinatown, I am fascinated by how fast SoHo, Nolita, NoHo and the East Village have morphed and changed and have gotten more upscale pushing more into this neighborhood. So I decided to explore it and I toured all around the Bowery, a street that when I was a kid was a dump! And it had always been a dump until recently.

I have never seen such a swift change in a place in ten years. I remember walking up the Bowery which stretches from Chinatown to about West 4th Street near Cooper Park. The area around Chinatown is slowly changing in that their businesses are there to stay as long as the population stays but it starts to give way by about Kenmore Street, which also pretty much ends ‘Little Italy’ over by Mulberry Street. Even ‘Little Italy’ doesn’t exist the way it did when I was a kid. That neighborhood is pretty much five blocks by a block.

Chinese New Year 2015 II

The lower part of the Bowery is small restaurants, small businesses such as transportation companies and lighting companies. This slowly gives way to the first wave of galleries, hip restaurants and spas. Once you pass Kenmore Street it really begins to change. From Kenmare to West 4th Street, like the rest of the neighborhood, a lot of this has been knocked down and rebuilt with luxury housing and chic new stores. In some cases I can see how the first wave of ‘hip’ stores have given way to even more expensive stores as the neighborhood has gotten more desirable and more expensive. Who knew that the Bowery was someplace that people really wanted to live?

No walk around Manhattan could be complete without something to eat. Having to rush into the city on a Sunday is never fun but we got into the city rather quick and I always start my day off in Chinatown with baked roast pork and crème buns at Sun Sai Gai at 220 Canal Street (see reviews on TripAdvisor & DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com), one of the most traditional and cheapest places to eat in Chinatown right on the edge of the original Chinatown. It is a dumpy place that used to cater to mostly locals and workers in the local businesses but over time has its share of tourists as well.

They have the cheapest and most delicious buns for sale for around a dollar. I always go for their baked roast pork bun and when I sit down for lunch, I love their Roast Pork plate with fried rice. So good and so reasonable. What I always get the impression at is that the people who work there wonder why so many tourists are coming there. I guess they don’t read TripAdvisor.

Sun Sai Gai

Sun Sai Gai at 220 Canal Street

After I walked both sides of the Bowery and will take guesses of when gentrification will get to Canal Street (I give it about two years not even), I found that all the restaurants were still packed with people especially in the heart of Chinatown so I decided to try someplace brand new and went to New Style Handpulled Noodles at 23 Pell Street (see review on TripAdvisor). What a nice meal. It is a small place that must be brand new because it was not even in the review books.

New Style Handpulled Noodle

New Style Handpulled Noodle at 23 Pell Street

I had their pork soup dumplings which were freshly made and just excellent. They just burst in your mouth with a sweet pork flavor and to warm me up their roast duck and pulled noodle soup. The noodles were freshly made and the broth really warmed up every part of my body that was cold. The place was just starting to empty out when I got there and was half empty when I left. Everyone else seemed to like the food as well.

For something sweet, I came across the Double Crisp Bakery at 230 Grand Street (see review on TripAdvisor), which I had passed on my way back down from walking the Bowery. They had this raisin what they called a “top”. It was just a sweet bun covered with a sugary top with raisins for a dollar (most everything there was a dollar) but I munched on this sweet, sugary treat while I was walking back to the subway. Another great find!

Double Crisp Bakery

Double Crisp Bakery at 230 Grand Street

My walk will find me back in this next of the woods at this rate in a few months where I will revisit all these places, but for now it was a nice side trip while watching the parade and watching the neighborhood in another state of transition.

This was a fun video of the parade in 2016:


Places to Visit:

Chinese New Year Parade

Every February


Places to Eat:

Sun Sai Gai

220 Canal Street

New York, NY  10013

(212) 312-8800

My review on TripAdvisor:


My review on my blog, “DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com”:



Double Crisp Bakery

230 Grand Street

New York, NY  10013

(212) 966-6929

My review on TripAdvisor:



New Style Handpulled Noodle

23 Pell Street

New York, NY  10013

(212) 285-8668

My review on TripAdvisor: