- By Kevin
- On Jun 28, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
Mee Mee Bakery
The hunt for the best egg custard tart is somewhat passé, but there are other highly sought-after bakery items that deserve attention. Mee Mee’s is a family-run bakery at the less hectic end of Stockton Street, and "cow ear snackers" are the specialty here. Named for their gently undulating circular shape, these thin and crunchy cookies with a swirl of cocoa have an addictive sweet and salty hit. They run out by around 4pm, so make sure you’re there well ahead of closing time. As the number of remaining packs dwindles, the aunties in line become restive and tempers can flare.
Pang Kee Bargain Market
Everyone will have their preferred all-round grocery store, but Pang Kee is a good bet for a quick shop in a spot that’s less busy than the central stretch of Stockton Street. The shelves are stacked high with quite possibly everything you could be looking for—spices, hoisin sauce, Shaoxing wine, light and dark soy—as well as instant noodles, Japanese curry sauce mixes and herbal grass jelly drinks. There is also a good selection of the packaged snacks and sweets beloved by Asian teenagers, including preserved plums (licorice-flavored, and with a distinct mouth-puckering effect).
Dong Hing Supermarket
A key feature of Chinatown is undoubtedly the fresh fruit and vegetable stores clustered around Stockton Street. These are famously packed on Saturday afternoons, with the prices reportedly dropping towards the end of the day to clear stock and avoid storing fresh produce overnight. Try Dong Hing, with its neat rows of exotic tropical fruit you might not spot elsewhere in the city, like longans and soft-spiked rambutans (both with soft translucent flesh, similar to lychee), jackfruit (an enormous knobbly green fruit, with honeyed yellow flesh) and purple mangosteen.
Char siu bao (steamed buns filled with sweet barbecued pork) are a favorite in Chinatown, and you can see the pillowy white buns sitting on bamboo steamers in many dim sum outlets. But Garden Bakery specializes in a slightly different offering, which is baked instead of steamed. The result is a fluffy glazed bun, filled with a parcel of sweet, juicy pork. Locals sit at tables with buns, tea and shopping bags, taking a break from the day and chatting in Chinese.
AA Bakery & Cafe
We lied when we said that egg custard tarts were passé. They’re still delicious, and the hunt for the best one in Chinatown is always on, with the results in constant flux. Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Avenue might get all the tourists, but we’d urge you to check out AA Bakery & Cafe. Their egg custard tarts are the right size, melt in your mouth and have the perfect balance of sweetness and egginess in a delicate, crumbly pastry.