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January 04, 2008


…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
(212) 219-2012

Fay Da Bakery
191 Centre St.
NY, NY 10013
(212) 274-0458

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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

The post Tuesdays With Norwood, Re-Steeped: China Black, Keemun, & Yunnan appeared first on T Ching.

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