…in Chinatown. Took care of a few errands the other morning and stopped off at Dragon Land Bakery. I craved baos. What kind of bao, I was not sure.
So many options lining the shelves, savoury lup cheongand yuk soong baos, sweet bean filled baos, bolo baos. I wanted the crust of a bolo bao, but a nice crust alone would not satisfy. Something inside would be nice.
And so we find great compromise with a hong dao bolo bao. At $.85 a piece, I sometimes wonder how I manage to fork over $3.50 for a City Bakery muffin or $7 for a chocolate pignoli tart at Balthazar Bakery. The bao is filling, but far from overwhelming. My favourite thing to do is peel off the crumbly ‘crust’ – a deceivingly simple mix of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs, that never fails to make me very content. Then I take a bite of just the bun. And then just the mashed red beans. And on my fourth bite (yes, I count!) I make sure to get all three components: crust, bun, and innards…crunchy, chewy, soft. Gah, I love textures! And they all go so nicely together. I do this all at the tiny table in the ‘seating’ area, crumbs all over my black coat, and then watch the rest of Chinatown fly by in the early morning.
I make my way to Centre Street and start walking up North. Then I realized I’m rather thirsty – baos leave you parched. So I turned into Fay Da Bakery. Isn’t it awesome how this city is flooded with Chinese Bakeries?
$.90 buys a cup of nai cha. Substantially more expensive than the $.50 I pay at Deluxe Food Market at the average $.70 most other Chinese bakeries. I made nai cha at home once, but it never tastes as good at the bakeries. Very basic, I know. A black tea bag, sugar, water and milk. But still…not the same. Must be these little cups they serve it in. Must be the ambiance, or lack thereof. I can only drink nai cha in Chinatown and nowhere else.
Dragon Land Bakery
125 Walker Street
NY, NY 10013
Fay Da Bakery
191 Centre St.
NY, NY 10013
We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes “China Black”, “Keemun – Splendor of Flavor and Perfume”, and “Yunnan – Among the Grandest of the World’s Black Teas”. We have added a link to the end of each one to … Continue reading
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