carnation bakery on kissena
- bigjeff Sep 13, 2010 07:26 AM
this is one of the oldies but goodies, a non-chain chinese bakery and if you catch their product fresh (I picked some stuff up around 2pm on the weekend) it will kick the ass of any fancy bakery in town, and at 75 cents a bun. their pineapple buns are amazing, but they have something called a "cheese danish" which is insane. basically the yellow coconut cream custard stuff, generously stuffed into a bun, and then with filo/layer pastry as a giant square on top of the bun itself. I got one when the guy was just pulling them off the rack and the thing was a hot, cheesy, custardy, layery bag of deliciousness. really crazy the crackle of the pastry top, the creaminess of the filling, the soft pillowiness of the bun, etc.
other items are way cheap and way big so I'd hit this place up. I just don't know when their actual timing is for putting stuff out but ya, it was really good.
46-05 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355
Bigjeff, not that I need a whole lot of encouragement when I'm in Flushing, but would you briefly describe the pineapple bun so I know what it looks like before going in. Do I just look for a bun with pineapple jelly spread on top? And, is there cheese in it too like in a danish? There's points given for that, btw. PLMK and TIA.
re: Cheese Boy
pineapple bun is actually a soft bun with chinese "streusel" on top, applied in a thick layer and then criss-crossed with a knife so it looks like the surface of a pineapple. it's all starch baby! they come plain or with fillings such as red bean, taro, etc. it must be their specialty because they had at least 5 or 6 variations of it. they also make sandwiches out of the pineapple bun so you can get a chicken sandwich or a fried fish sandwich, both around $1.50. dumb cheap. they also have a "mexican bun" which I couldn't figure out but I think its a pineapple bun, split in half, then somehow joined again and covered with pork "sung" and maybe mayo or cheese?
if you've had those curry pastries from a chinese bakery before, they are small half-moons filled with beef curry and I once made a chinese-style beef-patty-n-coco-bread by putting one of those curry things inside of a pineapple bun. it was kinda crazy.
another item I usually like is the elongated bun split lengthwise and then filled with mayonnaise and pickled vegetables. sounds weird, but it looked good. I didn't get it that day though, it was on the bottom rack. Yi Mei on Roosevelt does a nice one with mushrooms but I don't remember if they have it anymore and besides, that place kinda fell off in general.
the cheese danish thing I had was pretty nuts and its as I described above but they also have english labels on everything so it won't be hard to find it. one thing i remember is that there were black sesame seeds sprinkled on the top of the cheese danish item. diameter is almost 6"
if you went on a weekend early afternoon, it should be good timing and buns should be fresh from the oven. in asia, the timing is weird with bakeries too: they put the freshest batches out at 5pm and you buy them right then because anything in the morning is from the night before. strange that they wouldn't have them fresh for the morning rush but, that's the way it was in taiwan. here, they might do it slightly different.
Just went there based on bigjeff's review, and all i can say is, 'Holy Crap, is that place great!!!'
Nothing to look at from the outside, and not that big inside as well, but the food....the food! Heavenly.
I got the chicken sandwich on pineapple bun. Take their classic pineapple bun, and stuff it with a fair amount of chicken breast, lettuce, a bit of mayo, spicy sauce....and put that wonderful flavor combo on the pineapple bun, whose top has a not-over-the-top, slightly crusty sweetness that's out of this world. The whole thing costs $1.60. I can't even believe how cheap it is for something this tasty. Definitely going back for this alone.
Add to is some of the favorites; a delicious roast pork bun, filled with tons of yummy sweet portk goodness, the cheese danish thing which i haven't even tried yet, but people seem to love, and a yummy ham-and-egg bun. They've got a ton more than I plan on trying as I go back.
Super delicious and inexpensive! What more could you want?!?!
46-05 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355
Bigjeff, timing is everything in this place.
I made a note to be there around 5-ish so that I could better my chances at sampling a good portion of their stuff. I got there early and the shelves were half EMPTY. So, armed with the information that timing is everything, I took a stroll next door to Gold City Supermarket to pass the time. Five o'clock finally rolls around, and I decide to visit Carnation Bakery again. What a difference man!
Chicken sandwiches on pineapple buns, fish sandwiches, cream sandwiches, had all made appearances. Mexican buns, pickle buns, and other pineapple buns stuffed with all kinds of things were there too. My absolute favorite was an inexpensive 90-cent scallion hot dog bun -- a bun covered with lots and lots of scallions with a split hot dog in it. Ridiculously cheap, ridiculously good, and it just came out piping hot. My chicken sandwich tasted better when I got it home to be quite honest. I had one while there too, but I guess the flavors hadn't joined forces yet. Their chicken sandwich is: chicken, mayo, cucumber, spicy sauce, and iceberg lettuce filling -- almost reminiscent of a poor mans chicken bánh mì. If I'm in the area again, I will have to try the fish sandwich next. Looked very good (and super fresh).
I'll also add that the filling in the coconut bun is actually strips of fresh coconut. That, and in four or five visits, I haven't yet gotten there quick enough to try their dan tat (custard tart) - they're always out.
This sandwich is a bad-ass. It reminds me of a guy I ran into late at night while walking home across the Gowanus Canal. Suffice to say that I gave him all the cash I had, turned the other way and didn't let my feet touch the ground for several miles.
Maybe it's the sriracha sauce that does it...?
After seeing a @Polecat reference to this place on another thread, I've visited twice now. Today I went for old time poster @ironfrank's birthday and we tried at least half of the collection.
I love Carnation. It's old school and still cheap as hell. I think everything's around 85 cents these days, and if you get the stuff when it's fresh like @bigjeff says, it's very appealing. But there are caveats. The larger buns are too bread-y, with a taste and mouthfeel of Wonder Bread. And the flaky items on the righthand side as you enter, such as filled lotus seed and red bean cakes, don't cut the mustard - the fillings taste artificial. I also was not a fan of the baked chasiubao - strange pork flavor.
Favorites are the pineapple and coconut buns and the cheese danish thingy mentioned upthread. Would still visit anytime I'm in the neighborhood. It's a good companion to the similarly old school Hong Kong style tea shop across from Lao Dong Bei.