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Mar 4, 2010 11:19 AM

Where to find Hong Kong white steamed rice cake (S. Bay or Peninsula)

I did a search on the boards for this, but was unable to find anything, but if there is a thread out there on Hong Kong bakeries that I totally missed, please do let me know.

I grew up on the east coast and am very used to the Hong Kong style bakeries in NYC. I used to buy a white steamed rice cake whenever I went to one. It is essentially made of pounded white rice and sugar and yeast, and then the whole thing is steamed. It has a slightly sour taste to it from the yeast, and the texture is soft and a bit chewy and there are a lot of bubbles within the cake (from the risen yeast).

Anyway, I am having a horrid time trying to find this here.

Seems that most of the bakeries I've been to here don't have it and seem to me to have more Taiwanese style pastries. I only know of one place up in SF that sells it (Eastern Bakery), but there must be others. Does anyone know where to find it in South Bay or on the Peninsula?

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  1. The best one is from Louie's dim sum (take-out only) on Stockton St in SF Chinatown. It's quite a common item at the take-out places in the City. TC Pastry on Irving Street has it, so you might check with the TC Pastry branch in Daly City.

    Edited to add: thought of another one that might have it, Clement Bakery in San Jose at the border with Milpitas. This is a branch of the take-out place in SF.

    T C Pastry
    67 Saint Francis Sq, Daly City, CA

    Clement Bakery & Deli
    2115 Morrill Ave, San Jose, CA 95132

    1 Reply
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Ah Clement Bakery!! I will check there. I must have the worst luck going to bakeries because I always end up going to the Taiwanese ones with stuffed buns and cakes! Thanks for the help Melanie!

    2. Ahhh you're looking for Bak Tong Goh 白糖糕. This used to be a regular staple at dim sum at least during the 80s in Hong Kong. In SF city you can easily find them at the bakeries that do dim sum (you named one already, have you tried the other dim sum bakeries to go in Chinatown?).

      I saw these inside Mountain View 99 Ranch to-go deli by the dim sum section. Given the overall quality of dim sum, I would say it's not the best rendition (or anywhere close) but for a quick fix it is there.

      You might want to call New Hwong Kok in Milpitas and see if they offer it (it's a branch of the SF location, dim sum bakery/to go).

      1705 N Milpitas Blvd
      Milpitas, CA 95035
      (408) 263-1268

      6 Replies
      1. re: K K

        Wondering if Hong Kong Chinese Bakery in Mountain View might have it, the small place on Castro near Villa, I believe. Any experience there?

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I think I saw them have it before, but I'm not a fan of the place at all.

          1. re: K K

            That place has them, but, like most of the other stuff available, it's usually old and not very good.

        2. re: K K

          I never learned the name of this, and usually only recognise it by the character "bai" (or I guess "bak" in cantonese?). I haven't been to any other dim sum bakeries in Chinatown yet. I must admit that I am always a bit overwhelmed when I go there and I never quite know where anything is, except for Eastern Bakery and Golden Gate Bakery.

          And yes, I remember going to New Hwong Kok once before and that they do have the white rice cake there, along with much of the other bakery items I am familiar with.

          Do you have any other dim sum bakeries up in Chinatown to recommend?

          1. re: reesie

            reesie, you'll get more replies if you start a new topic with a subject heading specific to your request. It would be good to get an update on dim sum to-go in SF Chinatown, there are so many and the landscape changes often.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Aha, starting a new topic now! Thanks M!

        3. No help to you now, but at the now-closed restaurant Ocean on Clement street, it was translated as "Spawn Turnover."

          1. I've been told that bok tong goh is very tricky to make well because it should be naturally fermented (no yeast). It seems like it's one of those items that appeal mostly to older people these days.

            So I'm not surprised that you can't find anything good in the South Bay. I find the area to be dismal when it comes to Cantonese food. When a place like Hong Kong Saigon Seafood Harbor in Sunnyvale doesn't have it on the menu, I would hardly expect a small shop to make it.

            I don't recall Tai Pan carrying it and even then their dim sum is only okay. What about one of those Chinese-Vietnamese shops in eastern San Jose?

            3 Replies
            1. re: PorkButt

              Ah... I didn't see it at Hong Kong Saigon when we were there last, and wondered if I should have had my husband ask for me (he speaks Mandarin and I figure he can do a better job describing it).

              Haha... is this an old people's food? It's really one of those things that I grew up eating, so it's a comfort food for me.

              I'll need to check those Sino-Viet places and look for it now. I don't know if they do the fermented version, though, but I will check!

              1. re: reesie

                The fermentation process (if done the old school way) takes upwards of 10 hours priot to a half hour steaming process.

                I wouldn't say that this item appeals to the tastebuds of only older people, as even I grew up eating and enjoying that and still wouldn't mind a nibble to this day. Younger folks may not necessarily appreciate old school dim sum and pastries, simply because they 1) didn't grow up experiencing dim sum beyond the tried and true and 2) tried and true is more or less the norm in California, so you have to go the extra mile just to get something unique like this, which is so wrong...but what can you do.

              2. re: PorkButt

                Yes, the son of the owners of Louie's in SF Chinatown told me that no yeast is added.

              3. Marina Market on Norfolk in San Mateo has it in the deli/hot food area. I would go in the morning when they put their breakfast type foods out.

                1 Reply
                1. re: emmisme

                  Thank you, emmisme!! I will definitely go to check them out. It's a good excuse to drive up to that market. I really like that place a lot for whatever reason. Ha!