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Favorite Chinatown desserts?

Chinatown has so many bakeries in such a concentrated space, I sometimes get so overwhelmed that I forget to try new stuff. What are your favorite desserts from this excellent chow neighborhood?

My two current picks: warm coconut buns from Ho Yuen, and red bean sesame rice balls from Mei Sum.

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  1. Do barbecued pork buns count as dessert? Haha, they're my pick, and I really like the ones at Ho Yuen. I'm not a big dessert fan in general, but I also really dig the silken tofu with honey you can get at dim sum places (and probably elsewhere).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Zatan

      I am addicted to barbecued pork buns! That will be my vote for best dessert!

      1. re: Zatan

        I don't think I can count them as a desert because no matter what I'm picking up, the BBQ Pork Bun will be eaten first for sure!

      2. "warm coconut buns from Ho Yuen" oy yeah...

        3 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy

          Those were delicious! Not too sweet. Just right!

          1. re: heathermb

            Those coconut buns were awesome.

            I also like the open custard tarts at Hing Shing...and the tarot root with a pork stuffing.

            1. re: 9lives

              I love taro root dumplings, but watch the people at Hing Shing like a hawk. The last two times I went there, I asked for two taro root dumplings and both times I opened my bag to find two hot dog buns... Disappointing to say the least.

        2. Can you describe these coconut buns?? They sound great!

          I think of them as more of a morning snack and less of a dessert, but the cream buns from Eldo are a favorite of mine - gotta get there early for them.

          4 Replies
          1. re: gansu girl

            I love Eldo's coconut buns!!! Never tried Ho Yuen's...are they better???

            1. re: gansu girl

              A coconut bun is a sort of egg bread (I'm actually not sure the dough is made with egg, but it's very moist and a touch sweet), in the shape of a hot dog roll, with a coconut and butter filling. Simple, sweet, salty, and delicious. The going rate is, I believe, 80 cents.

              It's been several years since I've tried Eldo's, but I remember them being excellent as well. At this point, I go to Ho Yuen as much out habit as anything else. Part of the reason I started this thread was to break out of my bakery rut; I'll definitely give Eldo another shot soon.

              1. re: finlero

                so is the filling sweet? the thing they call a "cream bun" at Eldo sounds like it's the same, if the filling on Ho Yuen's is sweetened. the Eldo bun is also only slightly sweet, and it's dusted on the top w/finely shredded coconut. I had only one last weekend and have regretted my restraint all week . . . .

                1. re: gansu girl

                  Ho Yuen's filling is also only slightly sweet, I'd say about a 50/50 sweet/salty balance, and no coconut on top.

              1. re: three of us

                My Chinatown dessert experience is limited to fabulous sponge cake at Eldo. Almost better than my Tante Annie's sponge cake!

              2. Is there a sit-down place serving all those lovely desserts made from---well, I don't know what they are--sweet bean paste? tapioca? jello? There's a place in New York's Chinatown where a whole bunch of us each had a different dish, very different from anything I've had before or since, cool and soothing, pretty colors and surprising textures. Perhaps I should find out what they were before asking if I can find the same thing here!

                2 Replies
                1. re: cassis

                  I don't know the bakeries well because I usually fill up on desserts when I sit down for dim sum. Tapioca pearls in coconut milk, warm tofu pudding, mango pudding, rainbow jelly, coconut balls with chopped peanut inside, lotus paste buns, egg custard buns--and there's always room for those little towers of coconut jelly.

                  I think Empire Garden is the only place that has red bean pancakes.
                  My very favorite are the egg tarts at China Pearl. The bakery tarts all look too big and bland to me.

                  When they first opened, I loved the red bean buns at Bao Bao, but they don't seem quite the same. Still good, but not the same.

                  I'm definitely going to look for that sponge cake at Eldo's.

                  1. re: Baiye

                    I grabbed an egg custard bun as a snack today. Awesome! Bready circular bun with a crunchy top, filled with a sweet, creamy egg custard. I will definitely get it again. Thanks for the tip, Baiye!