Nye Wong Bao now at Greenland Tea Company, Chinatown
Ok, maybe this is just exciting to me but Greenland Tea House (210 N. 9th Street, 215-238-1688) in Chinatown is now making Nye Wong Bao to order. Nye Wong Bao is my white whale of Chinese sweets and seldom made to order as it’s not something you can bake and stick in a case. It needs to be steamed to order and you usually only see it in dim sum houses (and even in dim sum houses it varies in quality, I’m not wild about any of the ones in Chinatown currently). It’s a sweet, egg-custard filled doughball with such an intense egg-y decadence that it seems more French than Chinese. And don’t be impressed that I know that transliteration. That little phrase represents about 50% of my knowledge of the Chinese (Mandarin?) language.
They only started making them a month ago but I’ve got high hopes. The new sign said, “steamed buns” in the window so I asked if they were the elusive buns I craved. I hesitate to rave sight-unseen but, as Greenland Tea House is continually impressive in many other areas, I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll nail this. In my opinion the best food dollar you can spend in the city of Philadelphia is their $1 bowl of congee which, though it varies by day, is some of the best congee I’ve had in Philly at any price.
Since it requires a fair amount of prep you need to preorder. I suspect they could also make some for you on the fly so it might be best to stop in, place an order, go eat dinner somewhere else, and stop back there for a dessert of fresh Nye Wong Bao.
Or, if you’re having a brunch or dimsum dinner party, pre-order and pick some of these up and warm them up in bamboo steamer baskets.
That is, if there as good as I hope they’ll be. I’ll be trying some soon.
I've gotten "custard-filled steam buns" frozen at the supermarket at 10th/Race. I have no idea if they are the same thing (and I presume the frozen ones are way inferior to the fresh restaurant-made ones) but they are a great winter comfort food and/or dessert. If only there were any winter around to warrant stocking up again :-)