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Jan 17, 2008 09:20 PM

where can I find good chinese tamales (joong)

I recently moved here from San Francisco. I realize that I may have to reset my expectations for Chinese, especially Cantonese style, food. I'm trying to find a place that sells good joong, those Chinese tamales with sticky rice hopefully with a salted egg yolk, pork, and other assorted goodies. I bought one in Chinatown from a woman selling them and was quite underwhelmed. Does anyone know where to find good ones? I think it can also be called zhong zi in Mandarin. Thanks.

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  1. I used to get them at the dim sum shop around Pell and Mott Streets. However, when I passed by last week or so they were closed. I don't know if they're on vacation or it's a permanent thing. Anybody know?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      That place at the base of Pell, near Mott has been closed for around two months now.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        Mei Mei Bakery.....sad to say closed on the last day of September 2007.......I purchased 60 and froze them....they were/are the best....and I do not use the term often. The younger generation did not want to continue the family business and the patriarch did not want to sell his family name and compromise on quality.

        If you do a search, The NY Times did a feature on the closing a month or so before it closed.....that's how I found out and made my last pilgrimage.

        1. re: fourunder

          I regret never having made the pilgrimage. The only joong I ever had were the ones my grandmother used to make from scratch.


          1. re: GoddessofFood


            I had the pleasure of eating them for over 30 years.....I'm definitely sadder than you

          2. re: fourunder

            How sad! That was a great shop. We also have gotten them from the lady on Grand that ammel was talking about. Only one kind of joog and it's a dollar each and huge. Definitely not as good as Mei Mei, but OK. The lady is certainly a character. I remember she also once put her very bored Americanized teenage daughter to work selling joong. The girl did not look happy.

        2. I noticed that Shanghai cafe has them, and they seemed house-made. You may want to give it a try!

          They also have the sweet one with red bean paste filling.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kobetobiko

            The joong at Shanghai Cafe aren't very good I'm sad to say.

          2. My mother gets them from a lady on Grand Street between Elizabeth and Mott Street in Chinatown. They are homemade and for holidays, my mother orders them from her instead of making it herself.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ammel_99

              On the corner of Grand and Forsyth, I believe there is a Tofu/Rice Noodle shop. there they have the tamales on a daily basis. they are very inexpensive...about $1.25 if memory serves me correctly....good tofu and shrimp noodles too....

              The tamales are good for a fix, but nothing better than the ones you would find in any Asian Market for about $2.00.

              1. re: fourunder

                I haven't been to Chinatown yet this yet and probably will make a trip very soon for a round of dim sum.......I also plan to do a little shopping for Joong. Has anybody seen the infamous lady selling these on the street....or can anyone recommend a good one at any particular restaurant or grocery store?

                Many thanks in advance.


            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. just tried a couple of the joong from Mee Sum Coffee Shop at 26 Pell St. YUM!!! The joong are ready to eat, and they have several varieties in bins on the counter when you walk in. My favorite was the combination peanut and green bean one for $2.25. It has the salted egg and meat (not too fatty). The ones that have either the peanuts or the green beans are $2, but you'll have to ask if they have the salted egg in it. I didn't ask what other varieties they had. You can find flickr photos of their zongzi unwrapped and cut open that someone posted on the web.

                1 Reply
                1. re: 88bamboo

                  I meant mung bean, not green bean (green was a literal translation from Chinese). Also, I meant to say that the meat inside Mee Sum's joong is nice and lean, NOT fatty.