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Bread Talk – Serious Eats’ Favorite Egg Custard, Is It Actually The Best?

l
Lau Feb 13, 2012 07:24 PM

**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2012/02/bread...

A Serious Eats article about the best dan ta (egg custard tart) in Chinatown was recently brought to my attention on Chowhound.com (you can see both articles here http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0... and here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832817). They went the remarkable mission of trying 43 bakeries and proclaimed that Bread Talk’s dan ta are the best in Chinatown followed by Golden Manna and Taipan.

Bread Talk is a fairly unknown bakery located in the very southern most part of Chinatown far from the main bustling part of Chinatown. I’ve seen it before, but honestly never thought about trying it. I decided that I had try it as soon as possible since it’s fairly rare for me to hear about something totally new in Chinatown.

The bakery is pretty new looking and is a long narrow room with the display cases on the right and seating in the back with Cantonese TV playing in the background. It was actually sort of nice by Chinatown standards and looked very clean. They had signs advertising their 2 for 1 dan ta and ji wei bao (cocktail buns). They also had big signs advertising a long list of steamed bao (buns) with various sweet fillings. I’m not sure if they speak English or not (one yelper claims they don’t), but you should fine since everything is in English and displayed.

Here’s what I tried:
- Egg Custard Tart (Dan Ta): Bread Talk only seems to offer the regular dan ta here not the Portuguese style ones (burnt on top). The egg tarts look very pretty, the crusts look very symmetric and the egg custard is a nice light yellow. The crust was excellent; it was nicely buttery, crispy and flaky. The custard was pretty good, it wasn’t too sweet and when I heated it up it had nice consistency, but it lacked “egginess” and I prefer mine to be egg-y. Overall, I’d say I prefer Ka Wah’s because I like their filling better which you can see here (http://www.lauhound.com/2010/12/ka-wa...) (word of advice, go in the morning when they are fresh as they are quite good in morning) or Double Crispy for Portuguese style egg tarts, which you can see here (http://www.lauhound.com/2012/01/doubl... ). With that said this is definitely one of the better dan ta in Chinatown and is worth trying. 8/10 (8.25/10 for the crust, 7.5/10 for the filling
)- Cocktail Bun (Ji Wei Bao / Gai Mei Bao): Cocktail buns are one of my favorite Hong Kong pastries. Their Chinese name literally means chicken tail bun hence the name cocktail bun. A cocktail bun is a soft baked bun filled with a sweet, salty and buttery shredded coconut filling. They were supposedly created in HK back in the 50s when people were trying not to waste ingredients so they created these. Quality can vary pretty heavily with good ones being awesome and bad ones being pretty bad since they can be way too sweet, buttery, dense etc. Unfortunately, Bread Talk’s version fell pretty flat. The bread was just okay; I found it to be too dense. But the real downfall was the filling was way too buttery and didn’t have enough coconut in it. The version at Mei Li Wah is light years better, so I’d recommend trying them there and don’t waste your calories on them here. 6.5/10

Overall, the dan ta are worth trying and a lot of their steamed buns looked pretty good, so I’ll be back to try some more stuff.

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Bread Talk
47 Catherine St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. erica RE: Lau Feb 14, 2012 04:18 AM

    Thanks for another comprehensive report, Lau.

    Just curious if this is a branch of the BreadTalk I've seen in Asian cities..think it began in Singapore (??) I believe they own DTF as well as other brands...

    4 Replies
    1. re: erica
      l
      Lau RE: erica Feb 14, 2012 04:26 AM

      oh yah i forgot about them (i was actually thinking why does the english name sound so familiar when i was writing this), i just looked it and they are not a real branch (they don't have any US branches), so this is a fake

      plus you could tell since the logo looks different + this is "Bread Talk" and the real "BreadTalk" has no space in between. Also the chinese name is different, the one in NY is called 面包星 mian bao xing (means bread star), the real one is called 面包新语 mian bao xin yu (means "bread new language" or could mean "bread singapore language" since its from singapore)

      the actual breadtalk also is much nicer and has a much bigger variety, they also own toastbox which is a nice place to get singaporean breakfast like kaya toast although there are better places in singapore than that (and own DTF as you said)

      1. re: erica
        Chandavkl RE: erica Feb 14, 2012 08:17 AM

        This is as small of a shop as it gets. Really didn't get a chance to check all of the bins because I'd be in the way.

        1. re: Chandavkl
          l
          Lau RE: Chandavkl Feb 14, 2012 08:35 AM

          yah its pretty small, there are smaller bakeries though. There wasn't anyone in there besides me when i went, so i had time to look around

          i would've bought more, but i was already bringing home a ton of stuff, so ill do get more next time

        2. re: erica
          l
          Lau RE: erica Feb 14, 2012 10:54 AM

          actually this is kind of funny, i did a little searching on the web and breadtalk is actually a small public company in singapore (bloomberg ticker: BREAD SP) about a $125mm USD market cap, so you could actually invest in breadtalk, din tai fung etc if you wanted to

          here's their corporate website with all their brands etc.
          http://breadtalk.com/home.html

        3. scoopG RE: Lau Feb 14, 2012 06:46 AM

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832817

          2 Replies
          1. re: scoopG
            l
            Lau RE: scoopG Feb 14, 2012 07:56 AM

            yah i already linked it in the original post

            1. re: Lau
              scoopG RE: Lau Feb 14, 2012 10:14 AM

              I wanted to make sure the second posting about Bread Tart was linked to the original post by Chandavkl.

          2. s
            sugartoof RE: Lau Feb 15, 2012 02:34 AM

            I tried Golden Manna (a little more convenient to get to), and liked it despite how strange the place is. It's a shame they can't be found warm anywhere, unless you go early and get lucky.

            Taipan are good, but not good enough in my opinion to be considered the standard to beat. I actually miss the Egg Custard King, only because they were fresh baked throughout the day.

            Is Ka Wah the place with stacks of almond cookies in the window, close to the bridge?

            -----
            Tai Pan Bakery
            194 Canal St, New York, NY 10013

            Ka Wah Bakery
            9 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

            Golden Manna Bakery
            16 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

            1 Reply
            1. re: sugartoof
              l
              Lau RE: sugartoof Feb 15, 2012 04:24 AM

              ka wah is a small cantonese bakery on eldridge between division and canal. it opens early and closes early. if you get there in the morning say 10 or 11am they are usually pretty fresh (earlier the fresher). I think they bake a certain amount and close when they sell out (its run by a couple of old woman). I'd also recommend their sponge cake (it's much better when it's fresh fyi) which is excellent

              go try double crispy, theirs have been warm everytime ive gone

              fyi, i almost always bring mine home and throw in them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, it tastes almost exactly the same as when they are fresh

              -----
              Double Crispy Bakery
              230 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

              Ka Wah Bakery
              9 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

            2. g
              gothamette RE: Lau Feb 26, 2012 07:56 AM

              IMO the tarts at Bread Talk are good but no better (or worse) than any other in Chinatown. I have written elsewhere that I think most of the bakeries in Chinatown get their ECT's from a central bakery. I doubt these small, marginal enterprises make something that could easily spoil, on their own.

              Just my opinion.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gothamette
                l
                Lau RE: gothamette Feb 26, 2012 04:51 PM

                i dont think that is correct, first most of them don't look alike, but more importantly they are very simple to make. There is actually a dim sum restaurant in Flushing where you can get them fresh literally u order them, they pour the custard into the a crust and then a few mins later they give them to you. You can watch them make them at certain bakeries, you need a small oven and that's it

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