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Chinatown Bakeries: Best Pineapple Bun

Last week it was jin dui, this week pineapple buns. Chinatown bakeries may be the best kept secret in town for cheap, fast + delicious (sweet or savory).

Red bean is my favorite filling, and I'm pretty stuck on Bao Bao and Eldo right now. What are your favorite spots for pineapple buns?

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  1. Bonus points if anyone can name a bakery that serves it with a slab of real butter.

    1. I like Great Taste and the one on the corner next to it (forget the name)

      1. the char siu pineapple bun in China Pearl

        2 Replies
        1. re: barleywino

          +1, but especially if still warm :-)

        2. I think I have seen them at Crown Royal bakery, but haven't had one. I am addicted to their coconut buns.

          2 Replies
          1. re: nsenada

            Hmmmm, gotta try them. I am addicted to the coconut buns at Ho Yuen.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              The y are both good, but Crown Royal's are fatter and creamier.

          2. Yeah... Eldo was pretty dry and crumbly in a bad way (as opposed to crumbly in a buttery delicious way), with all the filing congealed in a small sphere in the middle. Clearly keep them at room temp as opposed to in the steamer at Bao Bao, who's are a little smaller but have a nice warm filling spread through the entire soft bao. Hing Shing is pretty on point too.

            6 Replies
            1. re: maxinboston

              Wait, just noticed that you mentioned red bean filling in your OP. It seems you are thinking of something else. A pineapple bun 菠蘿包 is a baked pastry with a crunchy sugar top. It's never filled, though it is traditionally served by slicing and half and filling with butter when serving.

              1. re: Luther

                Then what are the buns with that same "pineapple bun" topping and a custard filling called? I thought those were pineapple buns as well.

                1. re: Allstonian

                  Those are called 'lai wong' bao or 'guy yang' bao. Both referring to custard buns.
                  'bor lor' bao - pineapple buns are without filling.
                  My go to place is Hing Sing...grew up on them even better if you get them hot out of the oven.

                  1. re: Chocomom

                    Thanks for the clarification guys! I assume they are just dumbing it down/oversimplifying for patrons who are less familiar with Chinese pastry, but when they have the English names written out (like on the door of the steamer case in Bao Bao) they do refer to them as pineapple buns with ____ filling. But good to know the truth!

                    What do you call the oblong baked pastries that are often filled with custard or coconut cream? Crueller-shaped, almost. Those are dope at Hing Sing.

                    1. re: maxinboston

                      The coconut filling oblong ones are Cocktail buns... "gai mei bao"

                      I'm confused about the discussion above btw pineapple bun and lai wong bao. Lai wong baos (custard buns) are steamed, with white soft dough (like other steamed bus).

                      Pineapple buns, AFAIK, are baked, and has a yellow dough with a somewhat cracked surface on the top, and no filling.

                      Those 2 are very different in my book...

                      1. re: maxinboston

                        "Modern" hybrid buns do offer fillings, so they're probably not trying to pull a fast one on you. Traditional pineapple buns though did not have filling, and many of the old school bakeries here still sell them with no filling.

              2. Maxim coffee house in Chinatown has really good pineapple bun. The crust is dry and crisp, much better than baobao's soggy top.

                1 Reply
                1. re: divinebaboon

                  Really, I've yet to have a good pastry from Maxim Coffee House, so I've stopped trying.

                  For Pineapple Buns, as for most Chinese pastries, I would head instead to Yi Soon Bakery in Allston. However, I did have an excellent Wife's Pastry (lao po bing) at Great Taste Bakery in Chinatown recently. Didn't notice if they have Pineapple Buns.

                2. I'm a pineapple bun purist, and prefer it the old fashioned way with no filling and just the crumbly butter top. I like Mei Sum's version which has a good crumbly top, but a nice soft and not overly sweet bun.