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Oct 8, 2009 06:00 AM

Best Bakery in Chinatown and what to buy?


I want to try a bakery in chinatown but am looking for recs on which bakery and what to get. Thanks so much!

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  1. I am partial to the Eldo Cake house. Their coconut rolls are heavenly! They make wonderful fruit/whipped cream cakes as well.

    1 Reply
    1. Many have their individual strengths. I don't even remember the names of the the places. I like pork buns here, coconut rolls at Ho Yuen are amazing, Bahn mi at Mei Sum. Just poke around and enjoy.

      1. Semi-hijack of thread. Has anyone tried the new 101 Bakery? Didn't even realize it was there, until I read the Globe article on Chinatown this morning. So it's a sister bakery to Yi Soon in Allston. Would be curious about any early reviews of their goods.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kobuta

          Tried the 101 bakery a couple of weeks ago. I didn't care for it. It was pretty to look at but I didn't care for the tasted of the bread. I bought a taro bun and a taro butter bun.

          I do like that most of their items are self serve and the buns are wrapped and seal. They also have moon cakes and mini moon cakes with different flavours, like green tea, taro, etc.

          While the bun was soft, it had a bit of a salty taste to it. I wasn't expecting that since the taro wasn't salty but had a slight sweetness. It was a turnoff to me that I didn't even try the taro butter bun.

          I like Eldo for their cakes, they make really good soft moist cakes. Some of the other bakeries sponge cakes are a bit more dry. They also make their version of napolean that is good too. (There's 2 versions-one of them is made with a walnut pound cake). They also make rice "pudding" cakes that are in little tart tins.

          I like Ho Yuen for their white rice cakes and a few of their other pastries.

          I also like Hing Sing for their fried crullers and their custard buns. My son likes their Jean Doi aka he calls them chinese dough nuts (they are a round puff of glutinous rice flour that has a filling of lotus seed paste/red bean paste in it. The outside is coated with sesame and it is deep fried which makes it puff up).

          I like ham and egg from both Ho Yuen and Hing Sing.

          1. re: Chocomom

            I haven't had much from Yi Soon (only a few items) - is this the case with the same items from Yi Soon? It would seem strange that their son would alter the flavor from their recipe, unless he's trying to be experimental. Thanks for the review. I prefer the self service as well; this is how most bakeries are today in Hong Kong too, and I find it much easier.

            My favorite bakery overall tends to be Crown Royal. Their egg tarts (dan taht) are fantastic, and I find the best in of the bunch. They do a pretty decent overall selection of buns, though I particularly like their butter buns. Their cakes are also pretty good, and prettier than the others.

            I like Eldo's ham and egg (I much prefer the old school thick egg). Their other items I find to be ok - not terrible, but not outstanding. I actually had a rather poor "boot jai go" - the small tins of the coconut-y sweet gelatinous desserts - from them. Texture was all wrong - not much bite and like a full mushy overly sweet mess. I love their iced-lemon tea though.

            At Mei-Sum, they do really nice old school pineapple buns with the nice buttery, crusty top, and not overly burnt as I've found at other bakers. In general I find their buns pretty good, though I stay away from their Westernized slices of cakes and desserts. They just look off to me.

            The bakery way down on Harrison, heading to the South End, offers some nice Chinese bao's you can re-steam at home (usually pork and veggie buns). I really enjoy these, and should buy these more often.

            Lastly, tried Yi Soon's wife cake, and thought it was pretty good. One of my favorite bakery items, but I don't eat them too often. Need to find which place does them the best.

            1. re: Chocomom

              Just noticed the 101 Bakery today - the "cheese tart" looked very interesting, kind of like an oversized Portuguese tart from Great Taste, with a caramelized surface. Anyone tried it?

              Great Taste
              201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

          2. There is a bakery on Edinboro St (I don't know the name) but the Roast Pork Buns are delicious and at only 90 cents an incredible bargain; sweet pastry on the outside with roast pork filling inside. An Asian-American friend introduced me to the place and whenever I go the place it is packed with Asian-Americans all day long.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bakerboyz

              Crown Royal Bakery
              (617) 338-8889
              23 Edinboro St, Boston, MA 02111

              1. re: Taralli

                Crown Royal is very good, their coconut buns are really interesting - there's more filling inside than most others, and it's kind of custardy, rather than dense and buttery.

            2. To be honest, all the bakeries are pretty much on par with eachother. I think I prefer Eldo cake house, but you can't go wrong at most of the bakeries. I tend to prefer the savory items over the sweet. Good savory things to try are:
              Baked pork bun, Steamed pork bun, Hotdog Bun, Sticky rice (usually wrapped in a banana leaf and has pork, chinese sausage, mushrooms, peanuts.)

              Some of the more common and traditional sweets are the egg tart and the pineapple bun (Does not contain pineapple, is called this because of the crunchy sugary top that resembles a pineapple.)

              When you run through those, just see what looks good and point!

              7 Replies
              1. re: tysonmcneely

                I totally disagree.

                In my experience lot's of the bakeries excel at one or two particular things. Again, wish I could recall all the names without spending an hour digging through my own past posts, it exists as a foodmap in my head, but I only eat char siu bao at one or two places (some places they are just pork fat and no meat), steamed pork buns at Mei Sum and two other places, coconut buns at Ho Yuen are WAY better then elsewhere, etc. etc. Sticky rice in Lotus leaf is very good at Mei Sum as well.

                The place on the corner that is open late at (Kneeland and Harrison?) is just mostly bad. etc. etc.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I'm with SriperGuy - we buy different items at different places. There are lots of previous threads on this board with great tips, you could try doing a search for specifics . . . .

                  No one's mentioned Great Taste Bakery (& Restaurant) yet - I think their dan tat are the best so far, and I would argue that their cream buns beat Eldo's (and I'm a former Eldo fanatic). Their baked char siu bao are pretty good. Otherwise, I can't remember specifics, but I know I've posted them before . . . .

                  Enjoy taste-testing!


                  1. re: gansu girl

                    Oh yes...the Portuguese Tart, how could I forget.

                    1. re: nsenada

                      Okay, where do I find the best Portuguese tarts? Are they the egg tarts mentioned above? I used to work with a Portuguese Credit union in Rhode Island and was treated to these from time to time.

                      1. re: BostonZest

                        I haven' t been to all of the bakeries in Chinatown but have Portuguese egg tart eating experience :) The only bakery I know that carries it is Great Taste. IMHO-It's very very good-comparable to what I had in Macau and HK. The way to distinguish it from regular egg tarts, if there are no English labels, is that the Portuguese egg tarts are the ones with a little char on top which is from an almost creme brulee-like topping. Good luck and good eats!

                        1. re: firestarlj

                          A bit off topic, but there is a great Portuguese bakery on Walnut Street in Peabody that makes a truly awesome version. I think some of the places on Cambridge Street in Somerville do decent versions as well.

                      2. re: nsenada

                        My fav. is Crown Royal. Love their egg tart and fried pork flakes bao.