When I think of Chinatown in New York and the food that they offer, the word that come to my head is “affordable.” This is not just the restaurant or grocery stores, but also includes bakeries. We ventured out to a local bakery in Chinatown in a midst of (heavy) snow, looking for some baked goods and pastries.
The inside is really small, maybe enough to hold about five to seven people? Any more than that, you can’t really move around much. Much of the space is taken up by the window showcases and kitchen. They do have varieties of baked goods, from cookies, pies, puddings, cakes, all sorts of breads, and of course, traditional Chinese sweets. And affordable? You betcha! Most of the items are around $1 each!
One of their most popular item is the Egg Custard Pie ($0.90). It is freshly made, and goes pretty fast as everyone comes in here seems to want one before they leave. It is a nice size too, not too big but not small either.
We decided to get one to share, and as they are not set up as a cafe, you need to eat it while you are standing up. Which was not that much of an issue (until it starts get really crowded). You can kind of see the size of the pie in my hand. It is jiggly, velvety, creamy, and decadent. I can see why it is so popular. And this size and quality pit for 90 cents is a steal! Take few of these to your next party, you might become a star at the dessert table.
We also bought few sweet breads to take home with. First one was Butter Cream Bun ($0.85). It was coated with coconut, and you can see, it is a good size bread. The only sad news of this bread is that the amount of butter cream filling was soooooo small…. It was barely there… So that was disappointing, but if you think of it as a sweet bread with coconut with a hint of butter cream, then it was not too bad. And, it was only 85 cents after all. The bread itself was very fluffy and airy, and had good consistency.
The next one was a Custard Bun ($0.80). It had sweet crust on the top, kind of like sugar cookie flavor and texture, coating a bread. This one had more filling than the butter cream one, but not by much. Then again, it was only 80 cents. The sweet crust did made up for the missing filling, providing extra sweetness and soft texture.
The last bread we had was Sweet Crust Coconut Bun ($0.80). This one also had the same sweet crust as the custard bun, with sesame seeded added on top. I assume the sesame is make it easier to identify which bread is what. This one had a really good amount of filling. It was shaved coconut filling, and not coconut cream filling. This is a perfect bread for coconut lovers.
We also bought couple of traditional Chinese items. They had several kinds of Mooncake, such as black bean, lotus seed, with one or two eggs in it. We went with Green Tea Mooncake ($4.25). Since this item requires much more time and effort, it does cost more than $1. But, it had real weight to it, and was a good size too. The inside was packed with green tea flavored bean paste filling. Very rich and filling. I like the intricate design they make on the top of Mooncake. It is pretty cool… I am not sure how these are made, but very interesting.
The last item we bought was Sesame Ball ($0.90). It had sweet bean paste filling in the inside. It is a Chinese fried pastry made with glutinous rice flour. The exterior is coated with sesame seeds, hence the name, Sesame Ball. Since the ball is made with rice, it is a bit chewy, but at the same time a but crispy from being fried. Inside becomes hollow, as the dough expands while being fried. Pretty interesting.
It is nice to find a bakery that is popular among the locals, with super affordable prices. I like the fact that they have traditional Chinese items, but also, other baked goods that are not too exotic to the rest of us. When you are in a mood for something sweet, and you only have a dollar, you know where you can go to get something sweet!
Lung Moon Bakery – 83 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013