A dollar or two still takes you pretty far in Chinatown, especially when it comes to desserts. Dad’s visiting from Hawai’i this week and after yesterday’s lunch of soup dumplings and e-mein we stopped by a few of my favorite sweet spots in the area. We tried a bunch of different desserts, and the total for all barely came out to $5. Even after all these years, Chinatown never ceases to amaze me.
1. Start with a cup of Nai Cha, served at all Chinatown bakeries. This drink is also known as Hong Kong Milk Tea. A seemingly simple concoction (that I’ve haven’t been able to replicate at home!) Black tea, evaporated milk or condensed milk, and sugar.
2. Yao’s Dragon Beard Candy. I first mentioned these pulled sugar treats in Danny’s post to see how this fairytale candy comes together.
3. Bolo Bao translates to Pineapple Bun, and I covet these for the flaky, crumble rich crust that covers the entire top surface. Underneath is traditional Chinese bread – soft, plush and sweet. You can find these at most Chinatown bakeries. Keep in mind there’s no actual pineapple involved, the name just comes from the pineapple-like appearance.
4. Dofu Fa from Fong Inn Too. Fresh sweet tofu scooped from a big metal pot into small containers. Ginger and honey concoction on the side. Pour it over the tofu and spoon up. In the summer I eat this cold from the fridge, and during winter I prefer it warm. Make sure to also get the housemade grass jelly, another traditional dessert.
5. Hong Kong Egg Cakes. Multiple street vendors sell these griddled-to-order cakes. Purists say the best come from the ‘Egg Cake Lady of Mosco Street‘…and the rest are just impostors. But seeing as you can’t get the original anymore (she closed a few years ago) these other vendors are doing a pretty good job. No complaints here – I’m just happy that we can still get 15 pieces for $1.
6. Sponge Cake from Kam Hing Coffee Shop on Baxter Street. I wrote about these on Serious Eats, and these fluffy cakes only get better and better with each visit. Faintly sweet with a skin layer you can peel off – immensely satisfying. And only $.70.