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Oct 31, 2012 10:43 AM

Chinatown bakery for breakfast?

Baltimore sinophiliac hound and pup coming to NY next week, want to try a wide variety of savory buns and interesting baked goods for breakfast. Any ideas of where, and when they open?

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  1. The ones on the corner of Forsythe and Grand and the corner of the Bowery and Hester are both open very early and have decent selections. Also the one on Mott, just south of Canal, which has fewer places to sit.
    I don't know the names in English.

    3 Replies
    1. re: swannee

      Thanks, swannee! Any preference between the three?

      1. re: curioussheridan

        I think I like the baked goods the best at the one on the Bowery. Sadly, I don't know when it opens, but my guess is 8. Anybody remember it's name?

        1. re: swannee

          Is it called the Golden King Bakery?

    2. You can try Mei Li Wah. It gets very crowded for takeout (and I never know where the line starts) but I think you can also sit down and eat, which has a shorter line. According to Menupages and Yelp, they are open at 10 AM.


      22 Replies
        1. re: bearmi

          Mei Li Wah is OK for crowd control in the morning, especially if you want to stay in for breakfast. They open at 8 AM and sometimes even earlier. They have been my absolutely favorite Cantonese breakfast spot for years. The menu selection is narrow and simple but the quality of ingredients is high and the service is excellent (if you happen to speak the language). They are a "3 plus tea" type of cafe, but I usually prefer MLW to any dim sum parlor in C-town when I am craving that kind of food.

          1. re: diprey11

            Wow I was thinking 10 AM is a little late. Glad you guys know it's 8 AM. Didn't want to tell the OP the wrong time. I like their Big Bun W. Chicken, Pork & Salted Egg. So yummy!

            1. re: bearmi

              I have 4 words for ya: fresh shrimp cheung fan. :-)
              Both the big bun and cha siu bao are the unalienable right of the people, along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

              1. re: diprey11

                Ha.. with the power outage, I probably won't make it there before I move away but when I come back to visit in the future, I will have to check it out. I have seen people eating the cheung fun there (at the tables) but wasn't sure how good it is. I usually get the buns to go but I have to admit, the line was always so long and I am always afraid of going in because it's so crazy!

          2. re: bearmi

            Mei Li Wah makes my favorite char siu bao by far. Sesame balls are also pretty good.

            1. re: JungMann

              Anyone know aboutThe ones on the corner of Forsythe and Grand and the corner of the Bowery and Hester ?

              1. re: curioussheridan

                I think the one at Corner of Bowery and Hester is Golden King Bakery but we need swannee to confirm. Here is a link to someone's blog about it.


                1. re: bearmi

                  Golden King is on the Bowery and Hester. I've stopped by for an egg tart or a bun when walking around the neighborhood, but it's nothing I'd travel out of my way for.

            2. re: bearmi

              i'd agree with bearmi and go to mei li wah, its probably one of the better places in chinatown. Get the steamed cha siu bao and gai mei bao (cocktail bun, which is a baked bun filled a sweet coconut filling and sugar on top, they make it very well)

              the dai bao (the one with chicken, pork, salted egg) is decent as well.

              1. re: Lau

                I usually go to Sun Light Bakery , and their place next door where they make the rice noodle dishes. For the cha siu bao and egg custard ,I go next door to what used to be Golden Carriage ( now called a non descript JA or AC some 2 letter combo , haha i forget cause the sign is so not noticeable). For Dai Bao I usually go to Hop Shing. MLW cha siu bao are nice and warm and fresh baked at night ( which is sup rising),, but too doughy and not sweet enough for me. BTW, I was in Flushing at the booths called AA Station or Plaza, under the overpass. For $1 you get 4 steamed cha siu bao ,,,they didn't call them cha siu bao, they told me cha siu bao are the baked kind, they had a different name for them, which amazed me.
                This place also has lo main for $1, Fried Drumsticks, fish balls all $1 or $1.25

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  MLW: that's actually why i like them is b/c they aren't that sweet. cha siu is funny b/c different people make it very differently, it can be very sweet or barely sweet at all.

                  AA Plaza: they aren't cha siu bao, actually if i remember right in chinese the sign actually calls them xiao long bao (aka soup dumplings). those type of steamed buns, most people just call them bao zi, they're super common in taiwan and ive had them in shanghai as well. i love those types of buns, they're super good; they're actually very similar to sheng jian bao just not as crispy on the bottom.

                  i remember a few years ago in taiwan, my friend took me to this little old lady who sells them and her family has been getting them from this old lady since she was a little kid. That old lady makes a bunch in the morning and u have to get there before the early afternoon bc she just goes home after she runs out of inventory, they are the same exact ones except 10x better, so good.

                  1. re: Lau

                    Yes yes they called them bao zi. They tasted great and were so inexpensive. When I had my first steamed cha siu bao way back in 1967, there were only 2 places I knew of that sold them. A place called Koon Shing and Nam Wah Tea Parlor,,,but I never saw the baked type until years later. I actually like the steamed ones better. But I never had a problem saying cha siu bao,,but maybe they were bao zi . The ones at AA Plaza are smaller then the ones i've had in Manhattan Chinatown. As long as I am talking bakeries here, Yehs Chinese Bakery on Main St. near Booth Memorial,Across street from Car Wash) , has delicious Curry Beef Roll, and Delicious Chicken Roll ,,and great bread.

                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                      well the ones at AA Plaza aren't cha siu bao b/c they don't have any cha siu in them, the bao zi at AA Plaza are just a pork ball with some scallions inside a steamed bun as opposed to actual cha siu inside a steamed bun. Aside from that the differences between them are minor (cha siu bao are usually more bread-y whereas baozi are thinner).

                      I was born in the 80s so they always had both baked and steamed, but my dad liked the baked kind so I used to eat those more often. However, I always liked the steamed ones better so i always requested them when they went to go with them. Cha siu and cha siu bao are literally one of my all time favorite foods (even to this day).

                      Yah I've heard of Yeh's my friends told me its good, i need to make it in there one day

                      1. re: Lau

                        Thanks for the explanation. I always thought cha siu just meant pork. So the ground pork in the bao zi, i figured was cha siu. Now I realize the difference.

                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                          cha siu (cha shao in mandarin) literally means "fork roast"

                          you take a piece of pork (different people use slightly different cuts) stick it on a really long fork thing and then you cover it in a sauce that usually has honey, five spice powder, soy sauce, red food coloring (hence the red color) and some people use this stuff called hong fu ru which is a red fermented bean curd then you roast it in this special sort of cylinder like oven.

                          Cha siu is a cantonese creation and one of many of the classic cantonese BBQ items (my favorite btw). However, it has been adapted and tastes different in different places. For example it is extremely popular in singapore / malaysia, but it tastes different there than hong kong. it's more charred on the outside, less red, generally sweeter and the meat is much whiter. Still very delicious although i prefer the hong kong version if i had to pick. There is even a Japanese version which you see frequently in ramen etc

                          1. re: Lau

                            Thanks for that info. I was actually getting hungry as i read how to make it. So, when I get the hanging pork BBQ that they hack into smaller pieces. That I love so much. Is that called Cha Siu? The Filipinos make BBQ pork also , not as red, a few different spices but similar.

                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                              yah the red long strips of BBQ you see in the window are cha siu (they then chop it up for you), you know you can actually ask them for more or less fatty pieces. I typically get half and half b/c i like fatty pieces.

                              Some Filipino sio pao are actually cha siu bao (you always see tons of filipinos at mei li wah). Although i believe they also make regular baozi (i.e. like the ones at AA Plaza) so i think its an interchangeable term. This would make sense as most of the chinese in philippines are hokkien (southern fujian, same people as singapore, malaysia and taiwan) not cantonese and hokkien people definitely eat regular baozi.

                              see the pics from my Great NY Noodletown post:

                              Here's a pic of my all time favorite cha siu in hong kong (if you are ever in HK you must try this place, it will blow away anything you've ever had by a long shot):

                              1. re: Lau

                                Siopao is basically the generic Filipino term for baozi. The dough will always be the same as for char siu bao, but there are a number of possibilities for filling such as barbecue chicken, meatballs, salted duck egg, chorizo, etc. There are a few places in NYC that have siopao asado, probably bola-bola as well, but the classic char siu bao is always my favorite.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  ahh thanks for the clarity, thats what i thought

                                2. re: Lau

                                  Thanks , I will be in Philippines end of March then HK.

                            2. re: foodwhisperer

                              It means roast pork. Cha siu or char siu in Cantonese, or cha shao in Mandarin.(叉燒 or 叉烧 chā shāo). It typically refers to the Cantonese style BBQ roast pork.

                2. Long thread earlier this year about Double Crispy on Grand. Most bakeries open between 7am and 8 am.


                  You might also consider Golden Dragon Boat, 111 Bowery and at the other end of Chinatown, Dragon Land at 125 Walker St.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    Golden Dragon Boat was renamed Kamboat some months back. Don't know what else may have changed.

                    1. re: Chandavkl

                      Used to be a regular at DC. Their coconut almond pastries are legendary and one of the ladies there used to make a perfect yuan yang

                    2. For breakfast, I usually grab something at Ho Won bakery on Hester and Elizabeth. It is one of the few bakeries that is open and fully stocked when I start walking to work a bit before 7AM. I like their scallion bacon bun, hot dog bun, and chinese sausage bun, all for 90cents.. They also make a great cold chang fen stuffed with dried shrimp and meat, for $1. It has a nice chew to it. This place has a very large selection and the ladies who run it speak English well.

                      The other place I go is Mei Li Wah, by the time I walk down there it's usually a bit past 7AM. Their selection is much smaller but what they do have is a bit better, especially the roast pork bun and the "big bun"(big bun filled with all sorts of stuff like boiled egg and meat and chiense sausage). They are sometimes not fully stocked when I get there depending on how early it is.

                      1. here's my report on our two Chinatown bakery breakfasts: at Mei Li Wah we tried as many things as possible, and had an eggciting breakfast: best were Big bun with chicken, pork and salt egg; house special congee, with pork, scallions, fish and tofu. We seasoned it with hot oil and vinegar (ask for them) and with it we had crispy egg shatter, a sort of crunchy twisted pastry. The other really good thing was egg yolk bun, which to my surprise was a steamed bun with sweet-salty egg yolk filling.
                        Steamed roast pork bun was ok but not special, cocktail bun was a huge baked roll containing coconut, and the "famous bun" was not-- just a plain baked roll-- Chinese humor?
                        Our favorite drink was the hot citron honey. We left with full happy tummies.

                        Next day we went to Double Crispy, which we renamed Semy Crispy. The Cha Siu Bao was gummy, and the small amount of filling had no texture. The piggy roll was a plain roll that just looked a little like a piggy's tail, and the dried pork buns had little flavor. Though not comparable to Portugal, the Portuguese egg tarts were well made and a little charred, and the cheese and hot dog roll, with hot dogs poked in during cooking, and (surprisingly) covered with melted cheese made a good lunch.

                        We traveled onto Fay Da on Mott Street, where we had a pork and vegetable (steamed) bun: lacking in texture, but a good leek and ginger flavor. Sausage bun is to be avoided: a plain steamed bun with half a dry Chinese sausage inside; no sauce.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: curioussheridan

                          I think Mei Li Wah 's big bun is great too!! Fay Da is just so so. Did you try Tai Pan on Canal Street?

                          1. re: curioussheridan

                            you kind of got the wrong things at double crispy, the egg tart was the right move but their lao po bing (wife cake) and bo luo bao (pineapple bun) are both pretty decent, most of their sweet baked buns in the section to the left are generally good

                            1. re: curioussheridan

                              Thanks curioussheridan for reporting back!