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Chinese Bakeries

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?

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  1. 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

      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

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

      2. gimme the address for Diamond!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Diana

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

        2. 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

            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

              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

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

            2. 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

                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

                  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

                  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. 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

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

                  2. 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

                      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

                        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

                          Any particular one that does it better than the others?

                          1. re: TracyS

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

                      2. 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

                          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

                            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. 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. 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. 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

                                  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...