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Chinese Bakeries

GingkoCat Aug 23, 2007 09:01 AM

What is your favorite chinese bakery? I always go to Kee Wah on Atlantic Blvd & Garvey Ave in Monterey Park, but sometimes I go to Diamond Bakery across the street. I love the baked char siu baos, taro buns, red bean buns, egg tarts, fruit custard tarts, curry beef pies, custard buns, and moon cakes, birthday cakes....

IMHO, the frosting on cakes from chinese bakeries is much better than the greasy frosting from a lot of other places.

Should I branch out and try other bakeries? Where?

  1. s
    sel Aug 23, 2007 09:14 AM

    I have not been satisfied with the Chinese bakeries that I've tried in Southern California so far. None come close to Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco's Chinatown. If you like Dan Tat (Egg Custard Tarts) head to Nata's and try a plain Nata. It is a Portugese egg custard tart that is BETTER than the same item at Golden Gate or anywhere else that I have tried. It's the best $2 you'll ever spend! Their other pastries are very tasty as well.


    2 Replies
    1. re: sel
      Das Ubergeek Aug 23, 2007 11:04 AM

      A worthy, more southerly competitor to Nata's natas would be the daan taat at Desir bakery in the Anaheim 99 Ranch, when they have them. Not your stereotypical luridly yellow dim sum daan taat (which is funny, because in HK daan taat aren't eaten as dim sum), these are like Nata's natas... but maybe, I dare think, a teeny bit better... and not always available, more's the pity.

      1. re: sel
        justagthing Aug 26, 2007 08:26 AM

        Not a bakery, but the dan tats at Macau (Artesia) are sooooo tasty...like when I had them when I was a kid.

      2. d
        Diana Aug 23, 2007 09:19 AM

        gimme the address for Diamond!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Diana
          GingkoCat Aug 23, 2007 09:21 AM

          Diamond Bakery
          (626) 289-5172
          744 W Garvey Ave
          Monterey Park, CA 91754

        2. c
          Clinton Aug 23, 2007 09:34 AM

          Used to be in the old LA Chinatown on Hill Street a place called Phoenix Bakery was the place to go. Ever since Chinatown had gone down the tubes during the last few decades, new owners take over and the quality changes. Haven't been there in years but I believe it's still there. I had just heard that the small famous dim sum place in the alley just closed down recently (Hong Kong Low). The times they are a changin'.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Clinton
            nickorp Aug 23, 2007 12:32 PM

            Phoenix Bakery is still there on Broadway. And it still is pretty busy. I did get my mom a cake there (cuz Frances Bakery was closed). Also, Maria's Bakery seems to do pretty well (next to Sam Woo BBQ) but I haven't had their cakes since I was a little kid.

            And yes, too bad Hong Kong Low was closed down. I loved their steamed char siu bao. Their version was like a man-tou but with char-siu in it. Their dimsum was nasty but the baos were great.

            1. re: Clinton
              monku Aug 23, 2007 08:40 PM

              Phoenix Bakery is still the original owners--The Chan family. Last week I had a birthday cake from both Phoenix and Queens Bakery. The Queens Bakery cake (moist and fresh) was far better than the one at Phoenix and I used to be a big fan of Phoenix Bakery.

              1. re: monku
                justagthing Aug 26, 2007 08:27 AM

                Always got my birthday cakes from Queen's. But then again, my uncle was the original owner. But still good.

            2. Pei Aug 23, 2007 09:56 AM

              Depends what you're looking for. The people who long for Golden Gate in SF want very old school, Cantonese style sweets. People who like Kee Wah have a taste for more contemporary, fusioned items.

              For me, there aren't really better or worse Chinese bakeries. Each is good and bad at different things. I like I Fu Tang in Diamond Plaza (Rowland Heights) for the simple sponge cake with filo sheets and whipped cream (su pi dan gao, or "flakey pastry cake").

              3 Replies
              1. re: Pei
                elainew Aug 23, 2007 06:32 PM

                Can you recommend a good old school cantonese style bakery with good pineapple style buns, with a good crust? I'm looking for the ones you find in the bay area for $0.35-$0.50. I'm not looking for those fancy fusion ones that look cute and perfect, but doesn't taste the same and cost $1.

                1. re: elainew
                  monku Aug 23, 2007 08:37 PM

                  Great pineapple style buns at Family Pastry (dim sum take out place). Old style and prices you're looking for.

                  Family Pastry
                  715 N Spring St (near corner of Ord St)
                  Los Angeles, CA 90012
                  (213) 622-5255
                  Opens 7am 7 days a week

                2. re: Pei
                  so_hungry Jun 5, 2008 03:38 PM

                  Pei, I know you posted this a while ago, but in my search for the su pi dan gao you described above, you are a godsend for finally putting a name to my recollection.

                  Thank you!

                3. a
                  Augusta Aug 23, 2007 11:16 AM

                  Have you tried Cathy's Bakery in San Gabriel yet? They're consistently good in many of the baked goods you mentioned and their birthday cakes are wonderfully light with a not too sweet frosting that tastes like whipped cream. It's one of my favorites in the SGV.
                  708 E. Las Tunas Dr., #3. San Gabriel. 91776.
                  phone: 626-451-0101

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Augusta
                    ipsedixit Aug 23, 2007 11:34 AM

                    Best thing at Cathy's Bakery? The deep fried black sesame chips.

                  2. t
                    TracyS Aug 23, 2007 11:27 AM

                    Any leads for a great Chinese chestnut cake?

                    My dad LOVES this cake and I remember years ago getting something like this from a Chinese bakery in the San Gabriel Valley (can't remember which). The cake layers were a light purple -- almost like a taro color and not too sweet, and the frosting actually had chestnuts whipped into it so that it was thick and not just airy sweet nothingness. I'd love to find this cake for him again ....

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: TracyS
                      GingkoCat Aug 23, 2007 11:34 AM

                      Awww wish I could help you there. I don't remember seeing that cake, but it reminds me of the wonderful Philippino Ube cakes. OMG those are so good. And bright purple! You can get ube cakes at Philippino bakeries in Hollywood near Kaiser Permanente or Rowland Heights. I'll keep an eye out for chestnut cake though.

                      1. re: TracyS
                        ipsedixit Aug 23, 2007 11:35 AM

                        Just about every Chinese bakery in SGV or Chinatown will have a chestnut cake, incl. many of the above mentioned culprits like Cathy's, Diamond, JJ, Kee Wah, Phoenix, etc.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          TracyS Aug 23, 2007 12:28 PM

                          Any particular one that does it better than the others?

                          1. re: TracyS
                            ipsedixit Aug 23, 2007 01:07 PM

                            Sorry, dunno. Not a fan of cakes, of any sort.

                      2. g
                        GingkoCat Aug 23, 2007 04:10 PM

                        Has anyone tried Vanille in San Marino on Huntington and San Gabriel? I always drive by but have never tried it. Do they just sell birthday/wedding cakes?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: GingkoCat
                          ipsedixit Aug 23, 2007 04:13 PM

                          They are more a French pastry place than a typical Chinese bakery. They do lots of sponge and mousse type pastries. Afternoon tea is offered from noon to 4 p.m. IIRC.

                          1. re: GingkoCat
                            Pei Aug 23, 2007 05:12 PM

                            Yeah, Vanille isn't bad but it's mostly just fluffy white chiffon/spongecake with different flavored whipped cream and mousse, cut and decorated into pretty shapes. It certainly is tasty, but nothing exceptional besides good looks.

                          2. w
                            WHills Aug 23, 2007 04:17 PM

                            Taipan Bakery in Arcadia on Baldwin Ave by Duarte
                            Cathay Bakery in Arcadia Supermarket mall makes the prettiest cakes
                            JJ's is pretty good

                            1. katkoupai Aug 23, 2007 06:42 PM

                              I was recently given a special pastry from a place called Bake-Are-We that is in Cerritos or Artesia. The pastry was a kind of danish with corn and ham on it (sweet and salty), and the packaging had Chinese writing on it. It was actually pretty good, but I have never been to the store. Actually, I just searched the address, and it turns out the place is JJ Bakery. Maybe Bake Are We is just part of the packaging of this particular product that is sold there. :)

                              JJ Bakery
                              11624 1/2 South St.
                              Artesia, CA 90701

                              1. AlwayzHungry Aug 26, 2007 05:20 PM

                                My favorite Chinese bakery is JJ Bakery. ( http://www.jjbakeryusa.com )

                                They have delicious egg custards both regular and Portugese. They also have flavorful char siu baos with char siu that isn't too fatty. Their taro buns are my favorite because the taro has such a smooth vanilla flavor. They also have an amazing mango mousse cake.

                                There are locations in Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Arcadia, Torrance, Chino, and Irvine.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: AlwayzHungry
                                  bulavinaka Jun 5, 2008 09:54 PM

                                  They also have those desserts where a small spongy cake with flavored cream and either mango or strawberry are encased in a very delicate mochi covering of the same flavors. It's been about a year since I've had it - I don't recall the name but think about these often...

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