Fay Da Bakery

This project began on one intern’s walk to work. dangerous Eats World Headquarters is located on the border of Manhattan’s Chinatown. On my day-by-day commute, I’d walk past no fewer than six bakeries and curiosity: which ones were worth my time, and what should I get there? Over a few weeks, the serious Eats staff and I found out, hitting the streets to taste over a hundred pastries, buns, and tarts. This guidebook focuses on Chinese sweets, but we couldn’t leave out a few savory items that are a quintessential region of the Chinese bakery lineup. The results are below, but first, let’s take a quick spirit at what you’ll find in a Chinese bakery. Chinese bakeries focus on single-serving pastries: minor tarts, slices of Swiss wind patty, and buns with fillings like the crimson bean, roast pork, taro, cream, salted egg yolk, and beyond. Most of them are broil, but a few buns besides come steamed, and some non-bread-based sweets like sesame balls are fried. Buns and cakes go for light, gusty textures with neat crumbs and a cake-like creaminess. They’re less sweet than western desserts and normally don’t have icing or super-sweet fillings.

There’s one all-important rule for Chinese bakeries: freshness matters above everything else. All these sweets taste best fresh from the oven, and a fresh-but-poorly-made pineapple bun will credibly taste better than a several-hours-old version from a better bakery. Most bakeries bake once a day in the dawn, so the best time to visit is about 9 or 10 ante meridiem, though larger operations like Tai Pan and Fay Da bake throughout the day whenever their supply runs low. Steamed bun, which is stored in steamers or steamed to order, hold up much better than broil ones, so those and tart-like pastries are your best bets in the good afternoon. And take note that bakeries normally close in the early evening, so if you want a post-dinner angelic bite, you may be out of a fortune. The second all-important rule? Don’t judge a bakery by its looks. Those pristine-looking level cakes you see? normally not worth your time. That said, there are a few critical warning signs to watch out for, like dry or pale-looking buns or sesame balls with sink spots. A quick squeeze of your bun with the provided tongs will give you a feel of freshness. last, don’t expect big customer service from most bakeries in Chinatown ( even if you’re Chinese ). Most servers speak limited English and will respond bluffly to any requests. The one exception we found was Manna House Bakery on Mott Street, where the affectionate staff traded jokes with us and gave us the most pleasant customer service feel in the vicinity. Our two favored bakeries were, somewhat unsurprisingly, the largest: chains Tai Pan and Fay Da, with dozens of locations around the city. The Chinatown storefronts bake their buns on site, and about all of the sweets, we tried from both ranked eminent, if not exceeding. They besides bake throughout the day, so even though we timed our bakery runs for the dawn, their novelty stood out. If you’re only going to visit one or two bakeries in the region, there you have it. For the rundown on our favored sweets from all over, read on. Tai Pan Bakery 194 Canal St., New York, NY 10013 map 212-732-2222 Website
83 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-791-3884 Website

Pineapple Bun ( Baked ): Lung Moon and M & W Bakery


Lung Moon’s pineapple bun.
The pineapple bun, a barely dessert-baked bun topped with a crackly, crumbly blend of flour, carbohydrate, and egg yolk, is the quintessential Chinese bakery sweetness. ( The crackly beat kind of looks like a pineapple, which is where it gets its mention. )


M & W’s pineapple bun.
Lung Moon had our favored pineapple top-flight: dessert, crunchy, and crumbly, and once the bun was gone we found ourselves scraping the bottom of the bag for all the chunks of crust that fell off. The best boodle came from M & W Bakery, where the top was less crunchy and dulcet but adhered nicely to the bread, which had the arrant texture: tender with a small chew. Get these warm if you can; a little heat takes them to great heights.

Lung Moon Bakery

83 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-349-4945

M & W Bakery

25 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002

map 212-285-0918

red Bean Bun ( Baked ): Tai Pan


Tai Pan won this class with ease; literally, all the early buttocks we tried were dry and cold. Though you’d assume one bakery’s plain bun boodle would be the lapp regardless of fill, we found this not to be the lawsuit in practice. Inconsistent quality may be one suffice.

The red attic filling here is flavorful but not besides beanie, and its freshness made for an easy gain. eminence that these normally come prepackaged in credit card sacks, so you can check if your bun is still gentle with a light squeeze.

Tai Pan Bakery

194 canal St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-732-2222 Website

Roast Pork Bun ( Baked ): dragon land


It’s time for some veridical talk: we don’t care for any of the baked roast pork buns in Chinatown. These baked buns glazed with syrup and filled with dessert and porky char siu, barbecue roast pork barrel, should be a push pleaser, but about every translation in Chinatown falls short of rightfully satisfying. Yes, we tried Mei Li Wah’s celebrated rendition and all the other push favorites, but besides, often we found the gooey-sweet filling, the gross trap of adipose tissue, or stringy meat in stale boodle.

The least objectionable we tried came from Dragon Land where the woof was pleasantly oniony and the bread was a good hydrofoil for the meaty filling. But our ambition pork bun? Take the moist-but-not-too-fatty chunks of ridicule pork from Tai Pan, add the flavorful barbecue sauce from Golden Steamer, and bake it all in the impressively damp bread from Hop Shing.

Dragon Land Bakery

125 Walker St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-285-0918

Golden Steamer

143 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-226-1886

Hop Shing

9 Chatham Sq., New York, NY 10038

function 212-587-8800 Website

Mei Li Wah

62-64 Bayard St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-925-5435 Website

Hot Dog Bun: Fay Da


The success of Fay Da‘s bun lies in the balanced contrast of meaty hot pawl and gently fresh bread. Most of the other variations we tried featured despicable sausages or candy-sweet buns that clashed unpleasantly with the kernel. This intimidating version carried the day.

Fay Da Bakery

83 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-791-3884 Website

Taro Bun: Grand 1 and Fay Da


The bright purple taro bun at Fay Da.
photograph: Robyn Lee
Taro buns, filled with a sweet meet of mashed taro ( lavender-colored ) or ube ( dark imperial, besides known as purple yam ), are a rare sight in Chinatown but worth seeking out. Fay Da ‘s is bright purple and sweetened like frost, encased inside a damp bread with a close crumb. Grand 1 takes a more naturalistic approach with scantily sweetened mashed taro ( that in truth does taste like taro ) and a lighter boodle. We love them both.

Grand 1 Bakery

295 Grand St., New York, NY 10002

map 212-334-6968

Fay Da Bakery

83 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-791-3884 Website

Taro Puff: Fay Da


It’s dense, tied heavy, and especially sweet, but a bang-up pastry: Fay Da uses the same bright purple filling from their taro bun and wraps it in flaky pastry, which by and large serves as a rescue device for the warhead. That meet has subtle notes of vanilla and coconut, which has us craving an ice cream translation.

Fay Da Bakery

83 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-791-3884 Website

Plain Bun ( Steamed ): fortunate Steamer and Manna House


Plain buns from Manna House.
not all steamed buns are filled; some come plain. Golden Steamer‘s reputation for ace buns holds true in this class, but we besides found some stellar ones at Manna House Bakery just down the street. The plain bun there is pure white and ethereally light, damp but not excessively chewy.

Golden Steamer

143 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-226-1886

Manna House Bakery

125 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-966-3766

loss Bean Bun ( Steamed ): golden Steamer and Manna House


red bean bun at Manna House.
As with the plain steamed buns, Golden Steamer and Manna House were the clear winners, with the latter beating the erstwhile by a hair. At Golden Steamer, the buns featured a downy boodle and a smooth, about smoky fill-up. By contrast, Manna House intersperses unharmed beans in their fill, but take note: they’re not constantly available.

Golden Steamer

143 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-226-1886

Manna House Bakery

125 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-966-3766

Roast Pork Bun ( Steamed ): aureate Steamer and Delicious Bakery


Golden Steamer’s ridicule pork-barrel bun.
We had a better achiever finding steamed roast pork-barrel buns than bake versions, with two solid renditions. The bun at Golden Steamer is good to blame, as the respite of their offerings, with damp kernel and a sauce that has an impressive depth of season.


Delicious Bakery’s roast pork bun.
Delicious Bakery besides made a potent proof with a nicely textured bread and a mouth-watering minced woof. Our only complaints: more fat than we’d like and not enough big hunks of pork to sink our teeth into. While both these buns get the job done, we think you can do better with Chinatown’s other sweets.

Golden Steamer

143 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-226-1886

Delicious Bakery

139 Hester St., New York, NY 10002

map 212-925-2471

Pumpkin Bun: big Bakery and Golden Steamer


Golden Steamer’s pillowy pumpkin bun.
photograph: Robyn Lee
The ground pumpkin in these steam bun isn’t anything like pumpkin pie fill up; expect meek mashed squash, possibly brightened with condensed milk, but not a spice eggy custard. Great Bakery makes the only bake adaptation we could find, filled with squash enhanced by good a touch of boodle. On the sweet end is Golden Steamer‘s excellent steamed version, which hews closer to dessert than afternoon bite.

Great Bakery

303 Grand St., New York, NY 10002

map 212-966-3318

Golden Steamer

143 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-226-1886

Salted Egg Yolk Bun ( Steamed ): golden soft-shell clam


photograph: Robyn Lee
One of Golden Steamer‘s most singular offerings is one of their best: a sweetness bun filled with grate salt testis egg yolk custard. The salty-sweet sludge has a slightly game texture and rich, eggy relish. We’re addicted to this bun.

Golden Steamer

143 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-226-1886

Lotus Bean Bun ( Steamed ): Mei Li Wah


Sweet, balmy, and rich lotus bean spread brings to mind peanut butter with less stickiness. It’s coarse in mooncakes but rare in steam buns, though Mei Li Wah offers one with a laid-back nutty fill. The bun itself is denser than we’d like but hot out of the steamer it’s still worth a look.

Mei Li Wah

62-64 Bayard St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-925-5435 Website

Egg Custard Tart: bread speak


photograph: Robyn Lee
The Hong Kong-style dan thematic apperception test, or egg custard tart, is a single-serving tart in a bizarre crust with a yolk-heavy custard fill. The best are satiny smooth with a slenderly wiggly, creamy, rich ( but not excessively rich ) texture and a fairly strong eggy relish. Ours favored in the vicinity? Bread Talk, as Robyn discovered a few years back.

Bread Talk

47 Catherine St., New York, NY 10038

map 917-832-4784

Portugese Egg Custard Tart : Tai Pan


Portuguese custard tarts have a looser custard and less eggy flavor than the Hong Kong manner, with notes of vanilla and a signature burnished topping. The version at Tai Pan Bakery is merely fantastic: sweetly and finely eggy custard with a buttery, shatteringly bizarre crust, all in good balance and spotted a pleasant brown. As this Tai Pan placement bakes throughout the sidereal day, you have a higher chance of scoring a warm fresh from the oven and let me tell you, there’s nothing like a warm egg custard prostitute.

Tai Pan Bakery

194 canal St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-732-2222 Website

Sponge Cake: Kam Hing Coffee Shop, Yummy Yummy Bakery, and Golden Steamer


Yummy Bakery’s giant sponge patty.
We’ve already written extensively about our favored sponge coat at the Kam Hing Coffee Shop, which is delightfully light, aeriform, scantily sweet, and nicely eggy, always warm whenever you club it.

For this project, we gave some other bakeries a try on, and while we found it’s hard to make a bad sponge coat, a few do stand above the remainder. The quick study coat at Yummy Yummy Bakery is the largest we saw on our hunt, and though its buffet was a little overwork, the end resultant role was inactive lavish, and light. At steam bun specialist Golden Steamer, the cakes are cupcake-sized and come respective to a bag. They’re pleasantly eggy and make a capital base for a childlike dessert.

Kam Hing Coffee Shop

119 Baxter St., New York NY 10013

map 212-925-0425

Yummy Yummy Bakery

35 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002

map 212-925-1368

Golden Steamer

143 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-226-1886

Roll Cake: Pie Pie Q, Tai Pan, Fay Da, and Manna House


Pie Pie Q’s role patty tastes homemade.
Roll cakes are like sponge cakes with a dense dinge that’s baked into a categoric sheet and then rolled up with a slightly piquant cream occupy, normally made of shortening. Almost all bakeries make the knit variety, but if you’re golden, you can find some more interesting flavors: coffee, mango, and green tea. Chinatown is entire of bad hustle cakes—stale cake or too-sweet greasy frosting—but there were a few clear winners.


Tai Pan’s angelic roll cake.
Pie Pie Q‘s was the freshest of the bunch, with a courteous homemade flavor to boot. The frost tasted of dairy and the cake was velvet, with barely enough sweetness to counter the ample salt in the fill. If you don’t like the estimate of a salty cream fill, Tai Pan‘s sugared version is a fair the thing, with a gentle patty and a buttery woof. ( Fay Da besides made a potent picture in this class. )


The coffee roll cake at Manna House.
For a seasoned patty, try the coffee version at Manna House Bakery. The frost here is more shortening-heavy, but the salty filling takes a backseat to the light coffee bean spirit of the coat itself. Avoid the complaint roll cakes here, but if you like cafe gold lait sweets, this is perfect.

Pie Pie Q

24 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

map 212-619-3388

Tai Pan Bakery

194 canal St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-732-2222 Website

Fay Da Bakery

83 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-791-3884 Website

Manna House Bakery

125 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-966-3766

wife Cake: double Crispy Bakery and New York Mart


Double Crispy’s perfect wife patty.
The perfect example of a Chinese odoriferous, this pastry eschews tooth-aching pleasantness for an insidious, sticky-chewy winter melon filling that has a taste and texture evocative of grind awkward rice. traditionally, the bizarre pastry surrounding the filling is made with embroidering, but some bakeries use shortening or butter rather, which, to be honest, is our preference.


New York Mart’s wife patty.
The best we tried by far came from Double Crispy Bakery, even though it’s smaller than most and has its off days. The pastry ( with equitable a hint of lard ) is crispened and flaky, and the meet is attendant, not excessively gummed. A dark cavalry favored came from New York Mart, where the cakes are adult adequate to share and have a good libra of crust and meet. The winter melon is barely a small muggy but not treacly.

Double Crispy Bakery

230 Grand St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-966-6929

New York Mart

128 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-680-0178

Mooncake: Lung Moon


Mooncakes are dense, dumpy pucks of enriched dough thrust with fillings like bean glue, lotus source, and salted egg. They’re typically lone eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival and are more scarce in Chinatown the rest of the year. But the lotus-bean-filled versions at Lung Moon are tasty enough to eat year-round: the crust is tender and thin, limber enough to protect the fluent, dense, and full-bodied woof. evening a little mooncake is adequate to share with a supporter; a bantam slice will fill you up.

Lung Moon Bakery

83 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-349-4945

Mochi : Tai Pan, Fay Da, and A-Wah


stellar mango mochi from Tai Pan .
Chinese mochi comes in myriad flavors but plowshare the lapp basic structure: a ball of soft, awkward rice boodle with a fresh filling and a coating of crushed peanut or grated coconut. A few flavors: taro, mango, green tea, peanut, black sesame, and red bean.


Fay Da’s standout taro mochi.
Tai Pan‘s mango mochi ranks as one of the best sweets across this integral smack. The fiddling spot is creamy and tastes precisely like fresh, good mango. Fay Da‘s taro mochi was besides good, but less so than their victorious taro puff, as this rice ball was a little excessively uniformly starchy.


A-Wah ‘s mochi-like tang yuan .
Our third favorite is actually a nip yuan, a rice flour dumpling, from the restaurant A-Wah. The dumplings are filled with black sesame glue and normally served in hot, sweet water, but at A-Wah you can request them without the broth. The dumplings, coated in crusted peanuts, have a strong sesame filling that oozes with every bite.

Tai Pan Bakery

194 canal St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-732-2222 Website

Fay Da Bakery

83 Mott St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-791-3884 Website

A-Wah

5 Catherine St., New York, NY 10038

map 212-925-8308 Website

Honey Crisp Noodles ( Sachima ): lung Moon


Sachima is a fiddling like rice Krispie treats made of fry rice noodles formed into a brick and held in concert with honey-flavored syrup. They’re a common find in grocery stores, but we had high hopes that samples from bakeries would be fresher, as the ideal scheme should be voiced with a faint grind from the fry noodles and sweetly with the slightest whiff of “ fry ” relish.

As it turned out, most of the bakery versions tasted primarily of fryer vegetable oil, but Lung Moon‘s were just like what I remember from childhood. Neither cold nor excessively buttery, these have crisp noodles and an awkward chew from the beloved syrup coating them. Sesame seeds scattered throughout are a welcome summation, lending a lightly toasted season.

Lung Moon Bakery

83 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10013

map 212-349-4945

What Else?

arsenic comprehensive examination as we tried to be, Chinatown has an enormous numeral of bakeries. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

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