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Looking for childhood apple pies and orange pies from Chinatown [San Francisco]

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darrelll Apr 27, 2013 06:43 AM

Born in SF then moved to LA in 1960, my folks and uncles always brought back pies from a Chinatown restaurant that sold the best apple pies and a orange gelatin pie... My parents are now gone and I don't recall the name of the resto... Haven't seen those pies in over 10-15 yrs. Thought someone from this SF board or maybe Chandavkl might remember those pies and resto that sold them and if the place was still around.

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  1. yimster RE: darrelll Apr 27, 2013 07:32 AM

    Sun Wah Que is long gone maybe 20 years and we miss not only the two pies but as well as many classical Chinese take on old school American food it was located on the corner of Washington and Ross Alley

    I miss most the five cents sugar donuts from them which really date me as well as most three course meals which my Dad took me too

    4 Replies
    1. re: yimster
      t
      TigerL RE: yimster Apr 28, 2013 11:32 PM

      My mom & I don't remember the orange pies...

      1. re: TigerL
        yimster RE: TigerL Apr 29, 2013 01:39 AM

        Let see I do not remember as well as use too. But there was apple, lemon, mandrian orange, and peanut cake which I did care for. There was one more but I forget now. Next time I in the city with family we can discuss that. Next time I will tell your aunt that you are willing to come back >)

      2. re: yimster
        c
        chocolatetartguy RE: yimster Apr 29, 2013 02:02 PM

        I loved those Sun Wah Kuh apple pies. The crust was kind of dry and mealy (in a very good way) and the apples were very sweet. Didn't the boxes have green Chinese writing on the boxtop?

        1. re: yimster
          n
          Nineteen RE: yimster Apr 29, 2013 07:07 PM

          My dad grew up in Chinatown and also remembers Sun Wah Que. He said the sugar donuts came out at 3 p.m. and were more like egg puffs with sugar on top. He didn't think the orange pies were that good, but believed the pie crusts were made with lard. My dad liked the custard pies the best, especially when they were fresh out of the oven.

        2. Chandavkl RE: darrelll Apr 27, 2013 07:45 AM

          Yes, Sun Wah Kue was the only place I saw the orange pies.

          1. m
            ML8000 RE: darrelll Apr 27, 2013 11:21 AM

            There was also Uncle's, they had some unusual pies but SWQ was probably the place, at least for apple.

            BTW, does New Lun Ting Cafe (aka Pork Chop House) serve pie for dessert? Seems like the last of the old school Chinese American diners.

            ETA: New Lun Ting still serves apple pie, might be worth checking out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ML8000
              yimster RE: ML8000 Apr 27, 2013 06:08 PM

              Well, Uncle's is gone too but more recently, their apple pie was not the same.

              Yes, I have had NLT's apple pie a few years ago but not recently. The owner is the only one who still makes the pie and recently she has not had enough time to make them. Again not as good as SWQ's.

              Red House Bakery on San Bruno Ave has a decent apple pie. Maybe worth a trip to see if it is as good as you remember. But nothing is as good as you remember.

            2. Melanie Wong RE: darrelll Apr 27, 2013 08:51 PM

              You might enjoy this thread about those now gone but not forgotten Chinatown Chinese-American diners and the recipe for orange pie.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/45669

              1 Reply
              1. re: Melanie Wong
                Melanie Wong RE: Melanie Wong Apr 28, 2013 10:14 AM

                Another thread that talks about the pies.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/30260

              2. t
                TigerL RE: darrelll Apr 28, 2013 12:31 AM

                Yes, New lung ting aka pork chop house still sells apple pie. Ask the owner to make it as it's not sold everyday. She makes it whenever she has time. I'm glad you like the apple pie! My grandparents would be happy to hear this. They owned NLT from 1970 to 1990s.

                7 Replies
                1. re: TigerL
                  Melanie Wong RE: TigerL Apr 28, 2013 10:15 AM

                  Thanks for stopping by. What a great piece of family history! I've read that custard pie was the one to get at New Lung Ting. Is this still made too?

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    yimster RE: Melanie Wong Apr 28, 2013 02:34 PM

                    I wish they did. I have asked for years and without effect. Their custard is better then their apple.

                    1. re: yimster
                      t
                      TigerL RE: yimster Apr 28, 2013 10:40 PM

                      Nope. My aunt doesn't make it anymore. Friends are asking me to come out in hiding. I took over as the baker after my grandma retired. I worked there part-time after school from 1986 to 1996.

                      1. re: TigerL
                        yimster RE: TigerL Apr 28, 2013 10:47 PM

                        I knew that but I have the recipe for the custard from Frances somewhere. I stop trying for a few years now. I knew your grandfather from the day as my wife when to high school with your aunt.

                        1. re: yimster
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                          TigerL RE: yimster Apr 28, 2013 11:26 PM

                          Yah the custard is pretty tricky. The chef from the mid 80s did it the best. I only made the custard pie crust. But I bet my mom can still do it. She's Frances s-inlaw.

                          1. re: yimster
                            g
                            gordon wing RE: yimster Apr 29, 2013 09:55 AM

                            every now and then I notice custard pie at some of the bakeries in Chinatown ( on Broadway between Stockton and Grant )...... but haven't tried one in a long time. anybody have any experiences to share?

                            1. re: gordon wing
                              t
                              TigerL RE: gordon wing Apr 29, 2013 11:12 AM

                              Nope, but you can tell us and try next time you're in CT.

                  2. t
                    TigerL RE: darrelll Apr 28, 2013 12:33 AM

                    Oh and my grandparents worked in sun wah que in the 1960s too.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TigerL
                      Cindy RE: TigerL Apr 29, 2013 08:01 AM

                      And my grandmother (Pau Pau) used to be the cashier at Sun Wah Que!

                      1. re: Cindy
                        t
                        TigerL RE: Cindy Apr 29, 2013 11:10 AM

                        Cindy, my grandmother and your Pau Pau probably knew each other! What am I saying? In the old days, everyone knew everyone in CT :) LOL.

                        1. re: TigerL
                          Cindy RE: TigerL Apr 29, 2013 03:40 PM

                          My Pau Pau's first name was Pearl, although I don't know her Chinese name. She had a dog named Lucky that got all the roast beef leftovers. :)

                    2. t
                      TigerL RE: darrelll Apr 28, 2013 10:44 PM

                      Pies haven't been made at NLT in years... My aunt didn't hire a baker after I left and she couldn't keep up taking over and doing the other stuff in the restaurant. Pies were not as important as the real dishes. Remember the cupcakes that were made too? :D

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: TigerL
                        Melanie Wong RE: TigerL Apr 28, 2013 11:02 PM

                        Maybe you could convince your aunt to make pie one day a week, say Thursdays, on a regular basis. Or you could dust off your baking chops. Then we'd know to come by that day.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          t
                          TigerL RE: Melanie Wong Apr 28, 2013 11:29 PM

                          Sure. I'll ask her next family gathering. I'm pretty rusty at it & hard to find time with 2 little ones. Maybe one day I'll bake some pies just for the heck of it :) and I thought she was making pies here & there but just called my mom & said not so. Got my info all wrong. It's been awhile since I talked to my aunt.

                      2. d
                        dorisl RE: darrelll Dec 18, 2013 10:35 PM

                        I too was born in SF and grew up in the North Beach area. I missed the apple and orange pies too. I have searched all over SF but cannot find a bakery that makes the pies as good as Sun Wah Que. By accident, I found a bakery that makes the applie pie almost as good and it is way across the other part of the US and that is the Komodo Bakery located in Maui, HI in the town of Makawao.

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