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Jan 11, 2009 10:21 PM

black sesame ice cream/bubble tea and egg custards? where!

HI All,

From New Orleans, and loving NYC!!!!! even though it's freezing.

Anyways, I've been to Flushing and Chinatown but it's still hard for me to find black sesame bubble tea. I know, must be a weird flavor. I had one at Sago in Flushing, and all they did was put black sesame powder (I think) in the milk tea - not what I was expecting.

So if one of you out there loves black sesame as much as me, please fill me in on where I can get it in bubble tea form. Also any areas where they serve the sago pearls (the small clear tapioca pearls) instead of the regular bubbles? (largeer black tapioca pearls).

AND, if you have an opinion on the BEST EGG CUSTARD TARTS, please do tell. I want the kind that has a flaky crust. I have not run into any so far.

Oh, while I'm asking and u're still reading - where can I get really good tofu hua? You know the homemade tofu that is silken and comes with the sweet ginger syrup? Served hot?? It's a chinese dessert. Toufa.

Appreciate it guys. THANKS!

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  1. If you can find it:

    嘉華麵包屋 (might be "Ga Hua", or "Ka Wha" in English)
    9 Eldridge St.
    New York, NY 10002

    It's a tiny mom & pop bakery (you take a couple of steps down to go into the shop)that's been open since 1988. I've only had their mini-egg custard tarts with flaky crusts and just sweet enough custard once and have been trying to go back and get more to no avail. Usually i'm just too late getting there before they close, though one time they were sold out. This place reminds me of the delicious egg tarts i've had in Hong Kong. I also loved their slightly over-baked walnut cookies. Another must have for me are the flat round soft earlobe-like white (made of sticky rice flour) ground peanut-filled dumpling-like things - the ground peanuts are always just slightly over-baked, too (in a good way, as you can probably gather) and mixed with some coconuts; the sticky rice dough is perfect because it's about 1/4 inch thick, and doesn't stick to the teeth.. and somehow if not finished on the same day, doesn't turn hard the next day.

    For Black sesame stuff you might want to try Ren Ren who supposedly makes their own. Most of the other bubble tea places use pre-made powder. Again, this place is not a chain, so you might have better luck. To get the little clear tapioca pearls ask for Xi1 Mi3 Lu4.

    In Flushing for tofu Hua ...last time I was in Flushing was a while ago, but Soybean Chen on Roosevelt between Main and Prince should still be good. It's a flower shop with a little stand for take out only. Nice ginger syrup. I like to pay a little extra for the soft boiled peanuts to add to the dou Hua.

    23 Replies
    1. re: HLing

      thanks Hling, and to everyone else~ i'm definitely gonna try the mentioned here. the ice cream factory is on my list. hehe

      1. re: HLing

        I love how Strangette's requests are almost exactly what I'm looking for too (flaky crust egg tarts and xi mi lu), posted mere days before I came looking.

        Just to confirm, Ren Ren has xi mi lu?


        1. re: albh

          ohhh xi mi lu...i havent had that in a really long time, if its any good please let me know

          1. re: albh

            albh, I meant in my reply to ask for the smaller pearly "xi mi lu" instead of the big frog-eye ball looking "bobba" wherever one gets bubble teas or chinese desserts. I didn't mean that Ren Ren has it only.

            Often in Chinese restaurants they will serve a small bowl of slightly warmed red bean coconut xi mi lu after the meal. This is usually if you order a set menu for a group of people, where fresh fruit and desserts are included - and xi mi lu would be the sweet soup, the dessert.

            1. re: HLing

              thanks HLing! while I was in CA, I found a lot of boba shops didn't have small pearl tapioca / xi mi lu, so i had assumed that many out here don't either. Any other suggestions where I might find it?

              i'm familiar with what xi mi lu actually is, if i could order little bowls of that alone i'd like that too, but i don't think anybody actually does that? haha

              also, i can't seem to find a ren ren... where is it? or is it a ten ren? (ten rens in CA also don't serve xi mi lu).


              1. re: albh

                albh, sorry about my lapse in reply..also about my blind spot about "Yuen Yuen" (not ren ren) restaurant - my "internal memory chip" is forever messed up about this place's name.

                Also, the poster "fried chicken" mentioned "One Plus One" at 150 Centre street having the small tapioca pearls. I think that was the place that used to be the HK Hui Lau shan copy called "Healthy Dessert" that served the most delicious Chinese fresh fruit/ tapioca desserts. Then it became called "Whatever", which still had most of the refreshing desserts, and now "One Plus One" which I've not yet been. If they didn't change people, they would have xi mi lu for sure. Please report back if you go. Thanks!

                1. re: HLing

                  No worries HLing, I only now checked back, so we're roughly equally lapsing haha.

                  I actually came across a place that served xi mi lu to go! it's the cafe to the right of vivi, i don't recall the name at the moment.

                  i will be in chinatown tomorrow, and will definitely check out yuen yuen and/or one plus one, and probably this taipan for their egg custard tarts.

                  btw, bakery town had, by far, the best egg tarts in NYC i've experienced. still not quite as good as the best in LA or the Bay Area, but excellent nonetheless.

                  1. re: albh

                    albh, I'm glad you liked Bakery Town's egg tarts, too! It's always nice to have confirmation for something like this, so that I know I wasn't just imagining things. One point for the mom & pop shops.

                    I'm curious what you consider the best in LA and/or the Bay Area are. Just so i'll have some places to go if I ever get over to the west coast.

                    1. re: HLing

                      great call on Bakery Town, I walked in today and got two of the small sized dan tat...very good, probably some of the best (if not that best) that i've had in manhattan chinatown. Great flaky crust that isn't too dry or too buttery and the filling was the right eggy mixture that isnt too sweet. also got some yuen yang cha (coffee / tea mix), which was excellent as well

                      kind of a weird place for a cantonese bakery in the middle of the all the fujian restaurants / stores, but sounds like it was there well before they were there

                      looking forward to trying their other pastries

                      1. re: HLing

                        so i went to one plus one last weekend. the tapioca was good but i found the taro smoothie i got to be gross. pretty sure it was powder and not fresh taro.

                        i saw yuen yuen / ren ren on my way back to the subway station. i plan on going there on my next trip to chinatown.

                        1. re: albh

                          Thanks for the California recs and the report on one plus one, albh! It sounds like one plus one isn't at all the same people as the previous "Healthy Dessert" and " Whatever" because one thing they never had was taro smoothie. They only had on the menu during the winter a hot coconut milk dessert w/some taro and chestnuts but that was often unavailable when ordered.

                        2. re: HLing

                          btw I've been going to Bakery Town pretty much every weekend and I agree by a long shot I think thse are the best dan tat I've had in mahattan...I particularly like the small ones

                          The crust is perfect, crispy and flaky, but not dry and the filling is great, not too sweet nto too mushy. They also burn the tops a little like the portuguese style ones you get in HK or Macau...very good

                          1. re: Lau

                            Lau, I'm glad we feel the same way about the egg tarts. And really, it's very good of you to take on the duty of the egg tart tasting every weekend :)

                            If you're there early enough, would you mind trying their Cha Shao Bao, too? Just wondering how they'd do theirs.

                            1. re: HLing

                              its a tough job! haha

                              i tried to last time, but they ran out (it was pretty early too like 11am)...its definitely my list

                              1. re: HLing

                                i keep trying to get their cha shao bao, but they never have it so i sort of gave up

                                i tried their gai mei bao (ji wei bao / cocktail bun), its alright, but MLW's is better

                                1. re: Lau

                                  Lau, your dedication deserves an all around applause. Maybe it's just as well to leave it to the imagination? I did see the man taking out a huge chunk of pork one day so at least my guess it that it's made in house....someday someone will get to try it.

                                  Bigjeff, "rustic" goes with mom & pop for sure. I can't go to that street without getting my favorite fujian fish balls soup from one of the neighboring places.

                                  1. re: HLing

                                    haha thanks

                                    btw do you find any of the fish balls to be superior at any of the fujian restaurants?

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      hmm, i consider myself a semi-retired chowhound these days so i can't say i eat out all that much any more. If i'm in chinatown i usually get my $1 jumbo hot dog that has been good again recently, and then the fish balls if i make it over there. To me the fish balls and dumplings and noodles are best if they are the only thing, as opposed to from a full blown restaurant, just because it's just that kind of food, you know? I've been getting my fish balls from this downstairs place on Eldridge on the same block of the bakery we've been talking about. I know, there are 2 or 3 such places, and I think the one i like is the smallest place (probably furthest left when facing the row) that's a long narrow space, dimly lit, seating only on either side of the wall. I like the quality of their fish balls as well as the slightly tart broth that it comes in. It does something for me..the simply and clear way.

                                      1. re: HLing

                                        ahh you have been gone from the boards..its too bad!

                                        but yeah ive been meaning to try some of those places, but i always get sidetracked for niu rou mian usually

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          so Lau, where do you get sidetracked to for niu rou mian? I've seen your comments about a lack of good broth; you are in the Food Sing 88 camp I think?

                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                            well you do have to settle to a certain degree, none of the places on an absolute basis are great (sometimes I forget that and then go to a proper taiwanese noodle house in LA and it jogs my memory very quickly...although nowhere compares to taiwan obviously for NRM)

                                            usually i go to super taste (strictly b/c they have a spicy broth) or 144 ebway, who i like the best of the bunch

                                            i've only been to food sing 88 a while ago and i wasnt that big a fan, but to be fair i should go back and decide what i think

                                            what about you?

                2. re: HLing

                  went last week and caught the last 3 around 6pm; they were good, very . . . shall we say, rustic? eggy, not as thick as I was expecting, the crust was good, definitely smaller but more bite-sized; enjoyed popping them in my mouth. at 60 cents, delish with good flavor. not sure it beats all but, tasty nonetheless and a nice spot to go after sampling various fujian noodles and dumplings.

                3. If you post(ed) on the Outer Boroughs board, I'll give you some advice for Flushing.

                  1. I like the Black Sesame ice cream from Sundaes and Cones in the EV.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: D...DF

                      doesn't chinatown ice cream factory do black sesame ice cream?

                        1. re: oystersallday

                          Black Sesame Soft ice cream at 41 st between 5 ave. and 6 ave.

                          1. re: wew

                            Wew! What's the name of the place on 41st?

                            1. re: abud

                              I think this may be referring to Cafe Zaiya where I've seen black sesame ice cream advertised, but never tried it...

                              1. re: citysweettooth

                                I'm pretty sure it's Cafe Zaiya (which is on 41st Street between Madison and 5th). 41st Street between 5th and 6th is Bryant Park.

                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                  They also have an East Village on Cooper Square between 7th and St. Marks.

                                  1. re: D...DF

                                    Yes, there's a location there. There's also another location in a Japanese bookstore on 6th Ave and 40th Street.

                                  2. re: Miss Needle

                                    Thank you for the cafe name and correction. I hope I caused little difficulty.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      I just had a black sesame cream puff from the beard papa in cafe zaiya in midtown. yum.

                          2. I'm not sure whether this is strictly relevant, but Soba Koh serves a delicious black sesame pudding with red bean sauce that packs a powerful but well-balanced flavor. 309 E. 5 St., just east of 2nd Av., closed Mondays.

                            Interestingly enough, menupages mentions a 12-3 brunch on weekends. Soba Koh is otherwise open only for dinner. Have any of you been there for brunch? What's their brunch menu like?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Pan

                              had a great black sesame gelato at Il Lab.....

                            2. black sesame ice cream, along with other interesting rotating flavors, at kyotofu. It's soft serve and really good. try a chocolate cupcake while there-you won't regret it