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Chinatown: Crown Royal Bakery, Xinh Xinh

Reports of Xinh Xinh's death are greatly exaggerated... was open today at noon.

I hit another bakery in Chinatown recently. Crown Royal on Beach Street is a bit up from the arch. Large place, very nice and clean, big granite tables. Very different then my usual spot, Mei Sum where I love cramped quarters and often share a table with the regular crowd of mostly elderly Chinese men. Everyone pretty much has the same fair, Mei Sum's good strong coffee, and a bun or two.

At Crown Royal the crowd is a bit more mixed, Chinese women and some other non-Chinese. 5 times the space of Mei Sum. On the food front, Crown Royal does not have Banh Mi, or rice noodles, but the buns were notable.

I ordered char siu bao (what is usually BBQ pork) and a steamed pork bun (dai bao I think).

The char siu bao was not char siu (lacquered pork) but rather minced sauteed pork and maybe a smidge of veg in a glossy baked bun. I have never had a bun with quite that filling. It was delicious and now on my list of top buns in Chinatown. The very large steamed pork bun was also excellent with ground pork, chinese sausage, and hard boiled egg. The over effect of the steamed bun was a bit more delicate and refined then Mei Sum's version which can be just a bit funky, which I like. Also the sausage was a bit milder. I didn't notice anything else notably out of the ordinary, but Crown Royal is now on the permanent rotation.

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  1. Interesting....two weeks ago I went there for char siu bao as Ho Yuen was sold out. They had them and they were ok I guess, but not as you describe; that time they were bbq pork (or bbq with a little bit of pork), very sweet and very doughy. No veggie aspect as you describe and really not as good as Ho Yuen or even some dim sum places. I think I must try it again as the place in general looked promising.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Zatan

      The baked bun with sauteed pork was probably the best baked pork bun I have had in Boston. Though it was definitely not Char Siu.

      On the steamed buns I liked theirs as well as Mei Sum and the Allston Super88 at the counter IN the supermarket.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        I just had it today and it was kind of like pulled pork. The sauce was definitely not as thick or red as most char siu bao's at dim sum places, though it's been years since i've ordered one in a bakery. I feel like the sauce is still sweet and sour, with mostly the same flavors, but they use a different cut of pork that's braised or roasted until it is like pulled pork, does that match up with what you were talking about? I agree that it's definitely one of the best char siu bao's I've had, but I'm still not super fond of it.

        I do love big buns, but the only one I have experience with is Maxim's, and I think I will try crown royal's next time.

        1. re: ace52387

          "I do love big buns"

          and you cannot lie?

        2. Crown Royal has some of the best egg custard tarts in Boston. If you get there early in the morning, you'll likely get them warm and very soft too.

          1. i like crown royal, but actually, my favorite bakery in chinatown is may's over on harrison toward the south end (across from the chinatown cafe and tai tung pharmacy). it's kind of removed from all the other bakeries, and not every single item there is great, but the dough there is more to my liking. i haven't given much thought to what it is about it that i like so much, but i think it has to do with the ratio of sweetness to heaviness.

            anyway, my wife loves the custard baos there. thinks it's best custard bao available anywhere.

            1. Lately i have been going to the one right next to the beach street garage, I forget the name.

              1 Reply
              1. Has anyone else been to Xinh Xinh lately? I am wondering if it was bought by a different owner. The cheerful brother sister couple that were always there (well I thought they were brother sister) seem to be gone as of maybe 4 months ago and the food is not nearly as good. Hard tough summer roll. Pho not as delicious... The floors are filthy looking. It used to be my favorite place and now,.. no. Anyone else notice a change?

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                Xinh Xinh
                7 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                7 Replies
                1. re: ramallama

                  I hadn't heard any rumors of change. A friend and I stopped by for post-movie snacks about 2 weeks ago and thought the food was really good. We didn't have pho but had a number of appetizers, including summer rolls. We detected nothing different. I didn't see the usual faces, as you noted, and the floor was indeed grody - but I chalked this up more to usual Chinatown grunge vs. an something out of the ordinary to note.

                  1. re: ramallama

                    My only recent experience with Xinh Xinh was a few weeks ago;out for a walk at lunch and not sure what I wanted. Decided on "bun rieu" a favorite soup of mine, crab roe, shrimp, very tasty. I haven't seen it anywhere but Nam Vang..XX's predecessor and XX added it to the menu after a few months. Tried to call it in. They're 1 of many places on my speed dial..:)

                    Guy asked me what # on the menu. I didn't know and he said he was busy and to call back later. I'm the first to admit that my Vietnamese language skill are weak but I've always been able to order it before.

                    Story had a happy ending with a pork lunch special at New Shanghai..which is so good and reasonably priced.

                    I'm chalking it up to a language barrier and the bun rieu is still on my "to eat soon" list...either with menu # or eat in..:)

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                    Xinh Xinh
                    7 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                    1. re: 9lives

                      I got a menu, but it might be old. On this menu, Bun Rieu is #28.

                      1. re: tysonmcneely

                        Thx...I have a menu at home and work but was out walking. Probably should have gone back to the office to look. I do love that soup. I hope they're still doing a good job with it.

                    2. re: ramallama

                      i've had lunch at xinh xinh a few times over the past couple of months. i havent noticed any difference in the food but i have noticed a change in the waitstaff

                      1. re: galangatron

                        I had a summer roll there that was hard, like it had been sitting out, you know how the rice paper can get all ick? Also my beau said he thought the beef Pho used to be outstanding, but now it is run of the mill. I asked about the old staff, they say they are still there. I didn't think the floors used to be that grotty. Where should I go now that is not the Pho Pasteur?

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                        Pho Pasteur Restaurant
                        682 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

                        1. re: galangatron

                          I have to say, tho the food TC and I had was wonderful compared to waiting on line at the Food Truck festival, the Bun Tom I had today at Pho Viet totally blew away the Bun Tom at Xinh Xinh...Fresher, non-browned greens, more herbs, tenderer noodles, more shrimp, less money. Not that $2 is a big deal, just happened that the cheaper one was better. Who knew?
                          I;m thinking that there may be better in Ctown than Xinh Xinh now....

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                          Pho Viet
                          1095 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215