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Yung Sing Bakery will be closing for renos

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I went in to get a pork pastry this afternoon and noticed that there is a sign telling customers that the shop will close at the end of the month for renovations. To reopen sometime in 2010.

Very sad as I lost my beloved Bloom Tea Cafe a little while ago. Hard to find a consistent cheap eat on this side of Baldwin.

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  1. I hope that they re-open! There's a lot of this "closed for renos" that ultimately end up "closed for ever"

    1. It's a grand place with that old shoe feel that's fast vanishing from the whole area. Hope they're back in '10.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha

        Anyone know if Yung Sing has reopened yet or what the planned date is?

        1. re: snoopy12

          I walked by it this week and it's still closed. Furthermore, nothing has changed on the inside since they closed, it looks like a museum exhibit with dust. I wouldn't get my hopes up.

          1. re: ziggystardust

            It'll be a sad day if they do close for good. To me, this place is a Toronto icon, one of the first Chinese bakeries in Toronto. I remember going there mid-70-ish as a kid in the morning and smelling the fresh buns and also when I was at UofT for a cheap lunch.

            It was a family run business, the father in the back and mother and kids (when they're old enough... remember the daughter was kind of cute :-) ) at front. They never did expand into Scarborough when it was the "new Chinatown" at the time like other bakeries on the Dundas strip and, IIRC, they sold the business around the 80's but may have later bought it back with the kids running the show. It's too bad they didn't have the business acumen to expand beyond their little niche on Baldwin.

            1. re: syoung

              The same family has owned JS since it opened in the 60s. As for expanding, there was a second Jung Sing on Yonge around Wellesley in the 70s.

          2. re: snoopy12

            When we talked to the owners before they closed, they said they'd be renovating during spring/summer (vague on purpose). They said they were doing most of the work themselves, and I didn't get the impression they expected to be done this early (probably some time off thrown in there too). If they're still closed in July, that's when we should worry!

            1. re: Underdog Rally

              Oh man! Went by there on the weekend looking for their shrimp dumplings and found out the hard way. I really hope they don't go the way of Akram's Shoppe in Kensington.

              1. re: currycue

                Akram's just re-opened.

                1. re: currycue

                  Do you mean that you hope it doesn't 'gentrify'? It'll be interesting to see what happens. I really hope that they don't disappear.

          3. Add me to the list of people who misses it terribly. I was/am a 22-year customer thanks to a former coworker. Once he took me there, I never left.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ginnée

              Me too. I haven't found anyone else who makes tofu buns.

            2. Still closed when my daughter checked a few days ago. Very sad.

              We've been going there for about 35 years.

              1. still closed as far as i know. :(
                anyone heard any new news? i guess they really aren't doing renos...

                the other place nearby that i am sad has closed (originally with a renos sign up, but now with a "for lease" sign) is saigon palace on spadina.. mainly because it was the only place i ever had the tofu curry noodle soup!

                14 Replies
                1. re: helenhelen

                  Walked by today and they are still closed! Sign about renovation is all faded...

                  1. re: panko

                    I really missed it during the Fringe Festival. It was a tradition of mine to go get food at YS at least once during the fest, especially if I was headed to the Robert Gill Theatre in the Koffler Centre.

                  2. re: helenhelen

                    Actually, "Close for reno" is a Chinese euphemism for "closed forever". They just don't want to sound too negative, but for those who are not aware this creates false hope.

                    I believe Saigon Palace changed hands and had a different name which didn't last long before it closed.

                    1. re: Teep

                      Yeah, I went by last week as well and it doesn't look like any reno had even started. Looks DOA. I'm not aware that "closed for reno" being a Chinese euphanism. When Chinese businesses close, it's papered over and if there's any sign, it's usually a For Sale or For Lease sign. I'm thinking the owners are keeping it for it's land value or maybe still thinking they might reopen someday.

                      1. re: Teep

                        i liked the curry tofu noodle soup they had at saigon palace. that's another menu item i've never seen anywhere else..

                      2. re: helenhelen

                        I went by it on Thursday evening. As reported, still closed for renovations, scheduled to one year ago. Very sad.

                        I went with a friend -- we'd both were regulars back in the mid 1970s!

                        We had eaten at Matahari a little bit west on Baldwin. Oh, and I had had a soup that could have been described as tofu curry noodle soup (with some chicken): Curry Laksa.

                        -----
                        Matahari
                        39 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1, CA

                        1. re: Hugh

                          mmmm love laksa!

                          1. re: Hugh

                            Here's a bit of an update on Yung Sing. I had some time to kill in the area yesterday and decided to drive by to check it out. I noticed one of the owners, Linda, standing by the door speaking with a man. After quickly parking the car in front, I started up the walk toward her. She smiled upon recognizing me, and feigned (?) embarrassment by putting her hands up to her face. She realizes how much people want them to reopen, but there have been a number of circumstances which have sidetracked the reno.
                            I'd rather not go into details, but there is still a chance that they could reopen in some form. She knows it's really a part of Toronto's heritage (40 years at this spot in a 120+ year-old building). It's also a huge part of her family's heritage. Her dad did everything from scratch in the basement of the place. Cross your fingers, Chowhounds.

                            1. re: Yongeman

                              Thanks for the update Yongeman! That is somewhat encouraging news.

                              It could be worse.

                              1. re: Yongeman

                                Thanks Yongeman. But I'm still too clear on what happened and what she said or meant. What do mean "still a chance"? Is Linda's family still in the process of deciding?

                                Since Linda's parents are past retirement age and can't put in the hours to continue the business, the only other scenario other than closing business, is to either sell the business or keep it in the family with one of the siblings take over. Did she say anything else other than 'still a chance'?

                                1. re: syoung

                                  I was under the impression none of the siblings wanted to take over... Mind you, this is from my dad, and I have no idea where he "heard" this, but it sounded like this was an issue from way back (no one to carry it on).

                                  1. re: jlunar

                                    In response to jlunar and syoung, I'm sorry that I was a bit vague, but it was a casual conversation that touched on many possibilities with the business. The other person that was there was her brother, who happens to be a contractor. Apparently he was to do the reno, but has been occupied with other, unexpected work. I'm pretty sure that Yung Sing couldn't reopen in its previous form, as the father is aging, so someone else would have to take over. There has been interest from some family members, however. This is a very genuine family business, and they want to do the 'right' thing.

                                    1. re: Yongeman

                                      I thought the family/younger generation was slowly taking over anyways. it went from having the older generation (asian women that didn't speak much english) to having women in their 30s (who actually did a great job running the front of the store) working.
                                      that's why the closure was shocking. looked like the next generation was ready to take over.
                                      in any event, i forgot how much i loved their bbq pork buns, curry beef buns, sesame balls, egg tarts and tempura chicken drumsticks. it was a delicious greasy haven for me. I'd sometimes eat there when my friends waited in line at La Gaffe. i couldn't resist.
                                      since they closed, I'm rarely on Baldwin and McCaul.

                                      1. re: atomeyes

                                        God, I loved those curry beef buns. They fueled me on many a day when I needed to get the heck out of my basement lab in the Roseburgh building.

                          2. I'm just wondering those who miss their pastries and buns, have you tried the same in other bakeries and still found YS to be the best? or is it just nostalgia?

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Teep

                              well my memories of YS go back 30-35 years when I'd get sent there with some spare bills to bring back weekend morning snack food. In my memory everything tasted great.

                              But nostalgia couldn't keep me going there. My memory has things still tasting good 20 years ago, but there was a point maybe 10-12 years ago where almost everything other than the buns became a greasy disaster.

                              Unfortunately, all the bakeries downtown are working to a price point today (a very cheap price point) where real quality is impossible. YS of 30 years ago was certainly better. YS of 10-12 years ago may have had a higher quality of ingredients but something went horrendously wrong with the frying.

                              None of the downtown bakeries is worth for more than getting a large quantity of stomach filler for hardly any money at all. If you go with that understanding they're all a good deal. But none of it is real Chinese bakery/pastry if you know what I mean.

                              1. re: Teep

                                My memory also go back over 30 years. Their bread was unique, different than other bakeries like Lucullus Bakery which is probably the benchmark today. I remember going there as a kid and teenager all the way up to my university days at UofT. I too love their beef buns (both regular and curry) but the meat quality deteriorated I think sometime in the 90's. Maybe cost cutting became an issue.

                                I think it's not just nostalgia. Yung Sing is for me a Toronto institution, the original before all the others like Lucullus came with the large influx of Chinese in the late 1970's. You've heard of Heritage properties, well, I think Yung Sing is a "heritage" business institution. But I guess like Sam the Record Man was also a Toronto institution, all good things eventually come to an end.

                                Oh... and thank you Yongeman for your update.

                                1. re: Teep

                                  they also had some items not found elsewhere, especially for us vegetarians. they had vegetable buns and my fave: tofu buns! i have never seen tofu buns anywhere else, ever.

                                  1. re: helenhelen

                                    I loved the tofu buns & i haven't seen them anywhere either.

                                    1. re: terrycar

                                      Right and the fried rice bun that's more of a novelty.

                                      1. re: Teep

                                        I'm Chinese-Canadian from Montreal who moved to Toronto for university. I now live in Vancouver. I felf a close link although I never got to know them by name. I moved during one year to Darcy Street 1 block south. The egg tarts were amazing & their bbq pork buns were unrivaled. I've shown several people now living in Toronto. I DO hope they come back.

                                    2. re: helenhelen

                                      speaking of items not found elsewhere - i've not seen the sesame balls with yellow bean paste elsewhere - only with red bean paste. admittedly i only asked at a couple of places where people gave me weird looks and then i gave up. but i would love another yung sing sesame ball, or something close to it!

                                      1. re: smartygirl

                                        my grandma (RIP) used to make those. the yellow bean is mung bean.

                                  2. THEY ARE OPEN AGAIN!!

                                    sorry for the all-caps, but this is worth shouting about! i haven't been yet, my husband works in the area and he mentioned it. i plan to go on the weekend. and eat LOTS.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: smartygirl

                                      I hope this is right. I live in Vancouver, but Yung Sing was a block away when I lived on Darcy St in university days. I'll be in Toronto on Chinese New year'(Jan 23). I hope they're open.

                                      1. re: smartygirl

                                        YES! This better not be a January Fool's Joke!

                                      2. Are you sure? I just walked by the bakery this week and it looked untouched.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: principessa del pisello

                                          grr, mistaken identity. i just quizzed him about what he ate and he said "soup" and is apprently talking about some random other place that no one cares about that was closed temporarily due to a murder.

                                          please accept my apologies, all!

                                          1. re: smartygirl

                                            The "random place" must be Chinese Traditional Buns, some do care on this board!

                                            1. re: Teep

                                              i like chinese traditional buns too and am happy to hear of its opening (though sadto hear yung sing remains closed). sad about the murder though.

                                              1. re: helenhelen

                                                Jan 23,2012 at 10 am I was there. It is definitely not reopened. There are still cardboard boxes stuck to the windows as well as ladders visible beyond the cardboard.

                                                1. re: YVR flyboy

                                                  Which place is definitely not reopened?

                                                  1. re: acd123

                                                    Yung Sing Bakery on Baldwin.

                                            2. re: smartygirl

                                              Shoot! It's my birthday tomorrow and I'd have loved to have gone to Yung Sing to celebrate.