A Beloved Chinatown Snack Is Back

May May Chinese Gourmet Bakery steamed its last zhong zi three years ago, but lovers of those savory sticky-rice wraps never forgot them. Now their devotion is rewarded: A zhong zi master from the old takeout shop in Chinatown is back in business, HLing reports, and his wife is peddling his wares from a cardboard box on Chrystie Street.

The signature Tainan zhong is excellent, says michelleats: black mushroom, fresh-tasting boiled peanuts, and pork with just enough fat, stuffed into nicely seasoned rice fragrant from its bamboo-leaf wrapping. An earthy, hearty vegetarian version is made with shiitake mushroom and kidney, adzuki, and mung beans in purple-black sticky rice. Long, slender Shanghai-style zhong feature lean pork in rice with a smoky soy-sauce note. Other fillings include Shanghai-style bean paste, peanut and preserved pork, green bean and preserved pork, and lye water, or jian shui, rice, which is typically dipped in sugar or syrup and eaten as dessert.

Pedestrian and vendor traffic is thick at the northwest corner of Grand and Chrystie, right outside the B/D station, and you may find two or three women hawking zhong there. The one you want sets up shop around 2 p.m. and passes out a business card (yes, street vendors now have business cards) that includes the menu (in Chinese) and touts the May May connection.

Street vendor [Chinatown]
Chrystie and Grand streets, Manhattan
646-275-9306

Discuss: Anyone still crave Mei Mei's (May May?) zhong?