Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 3, 2003 08:30 AM

Egg cake lady

  • r

Every time I've been on Mott street in the last 6 months she is closed. What happened to her? I sometimes see the egg cakes on Canal, but I liked the lady.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I heard a rumor from my Taiwanese friend that she "made it big" on the egg cakes, moved to the Upper East side, and is living the life of luxury off the profits.

    . Not sure of the veracity of this story, but sounds good, eh?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Matt G

      sounds better than the version where she simply died of old age, alone in her tiny 2-room apartment in Chinatown.

      1. re: sethy
        john pressman

        Been reading a book I got for Christmas; "Five Points". In the last chapter, entitled "The End of Five Points", page 439, I quote:

        "A Chinese-American woman who has sold Hong Kong egg cakes at the corner of Mott and Mosco (formerly Park) Streets for almost twenty years helps her family make ends meet much as did female Irish apple sellers in the mid-nineteeth century, though in a modern twist she has used her earnings to put two sons through college."

        Is this the mysterious Hong Kong Egg Cake Lady often spoken of on this board???

        1. re: john pressman

          She's spoken of everywhere for some strange reason. I don't know why the media was/is so fixated on her out of the many street food vendors in Chinatown. There's always been a couple of other egg cake sellers and I'm sure they were able to contribute to their children's education as well. Her egg cakes were better, but only marginally so. I'm most fascinated by the man who makes dragon's beard candy on grand street in better weather conditions. It truly looks like an art form.

          1. re: yessir

            can you tell me a little more about dragon's beard candy? and the exact location on grand?


            1. re: radford

              Mmmm. I LOVE dragon beard candy. It's essentially spun sugar stuffed with a mixture of sugar, coconut and sesame. You get 6 pieces of candy for $2. I've taken a few people there, and everyone loves it.

              I don't believe the dragon beard guy is there in the winter. When I spoke to him in the fall, he told me that he's only there from 4-8pm, weather permitting. I'd check back in the spring.

              The dragon beard cart is located on the south side of Grand between Elizabeth and Bowery. Just look for a man dressed entirely in white with a mask on!

              I'm going to check on the egg cake lady this weekend. Hopefully, i'll report back with some good news!

              1. re: greenegirl

                I remember when I was a kid, there seemed to be a couple of Dragon's beard candy vendors around, but now I only see the man on Grand St. He told me makes the candy more as a hobby than for a way to make money. I worry that when he gets sick of it, there'll be no one to replace him. I bought a lot of candy from him this past summer. On hot days, you have to eat it immediately or the sugar melts and hardens and ruins the whole melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

                Anyway, there's a Turkish version too, called Pismaniye. I've bought imported packages of it before from my Turkish grocer, but they weren't that tasty. I bet if you could find it fresh it would be great.

            2. re: yessir

              I've been looking for this guy, unsuccessfully, for twelve years. He's elusive.

              Thanks for posting. It's a big deal. Most Chinese people don't know dragon's beard is available anywhere around here.


            3. re: john pressman

              YES , and she did put her kid through college

        2. The Mosco street Egg cake lady was BY FAR the best vendor out there. The egg cakes were perfectly crispy and never undercooked and mis-shapen. Those ones that come out warped are not well cooked.

          8 Replies
          1. re: babyhandsny

            they were very good, they were actually better than the ones you get in hong kong

            1. re: Lau

              I'm new to this. Presumably, from the tense you use, she's not there any more?

              1. re: FoodDabbler

                no, long gone, she was on the corner of mott and mosco in a little tiny news stand kind of thing. When i was in college, i used to go there alot. Always a 10-15 people line all day.

                she actually put all 3 of her kids through college (good colleges too) selling those cakes. i remember the story was that she originally started it doing it b/c her husband was a chef at one of the ctown restaurants, so she did this on the side to earn some extra money, but then became pretty successful, put her kids through college and made enough money to retire.

                her egg cakes were way better than the ones that are available now, her batter tasted much better

                1. re: Lau

                  I ran into a family recently who were looking for her in Chinatown and were sad to see she was no longer around and disappointed in the Canal Street offerings.

                  1. re: Lau

                    Are there any you still recommend?

                    I ate at Hop Kee many, many times in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was myself a student. I don't know if she was around then, but it was always late at night and I never noticed the stall.

                    Hop Kee
                    21 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                      well it was only open during the morning / day, i think she closed by 5 at the latest....i only moved to NY in 2000, so i cant tell u when she started

                      i think the guy on grand and bowery is the best one now

                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                        she was never really there past mid-afternoon, i think, because she would just work till she ran out of batter. she was not an overachiever because i really think she could have created a franchise if she wanted. My sister had them once when she visited from out of town and she still asks about her.