Sunday, January 6, 2013

Eats: San Francisco Chinatown

My second food post!  I rely very heavily upon Yelp.  So what happens when you go to Chinatown and Yelp for good eats?

You see this.  A bakery with 1644 reviews boasting 4.5 stars all lauding the yummy deliciousness of egg tarts.

And then what happens?  

You go!  (Or at least I did) :)

There are only 3 people in the family who like egg tarts and we were originally going to purchase exactly 3 egg tarts. After waiting in line though (45 min today), and seeing ALL the people coming out with multiple dozens, we quickly reassessed. Once we got in the bakery, we loaded up and ordered: a dozen egg tarts, a few coconut tarts, a roll cake, a slice of chocolate roll cake, some egg custard cakes and an apple roll. And though our original plan of 3 egg tarts for $4 ($1.35 each or $16 per dozen) turned into a $40 bakery fix, all concerns were melted away once we took our first taste of an egg tart. 

I've had many an egg tart (from NY, Chicago, SF, LA, HK, etc.) and this ranks among the best. Ever. Flaky, buttery crust with golden brown, crispy edges and jiggly, sweet but not too sweet, eggy filling (the consistency of panna cotta). It is perfection. Worth the wait in line and worth the price.

The other cakes we ordered are very good - light, fluffy consistency and beautifully made, but the star of the show is definitely the egg tart.

Golden Gate Bakery Egg Tarts

Flaky crust and a generous, delicious filling
See how thin the crust is at the bottom? The tart actually sags from the weight of the filling and it is SO GOOD.

The other goodies

We then passed by a bakery with this sign:

Naturally, we bought it:
Natural Chestnut Cake
Mom is a huge chestnut fan and often reminisces of the chunky chestnut cakes she had as a little girl in Hong Kong.  She then gloomily sighs and says they don't make cakes like that anymore (most places now use a chestnut paste rather than actual chunks).  She practically giggled with glee when we got her this :)

Milk Tea Ice Cream
And hello!  We will back to try this!

Hong Kong is filled with little mom and pop eateries with good food for cheap.  SF (and NYC, not so much Chicago) Chinatowns have these too.  Today, we tried Man Kee Cafe (used to be called Broadway Cafe) where most meals are around $5 with incredibly large portions.

Hainan Chicken w/ Rice
This is my husband's favorite dish.  I myself am a lazy Asian and prefer chicken that is de-boned and de-skinned if it's not fried.

Hong Kong-style Milk Tea
Has a stronger tea flavor than regular milk tea - very yummy!

Beef with Eggs on Rice
Beef was super tender and flavorful.

Don't remember the official name of this, but Mom calls it "e-meen" so E Noodles?
The best dish of the bunch ordered by our 3-year-old son.

Needless to say, we left Chinatown holding our very full (and happy) bellies.

31 comments:

  1. It's always fun to see when people make their first visit to the classic GG bakery. I myself don't love egg tarts but I know that often hype doesn't measure up and this is one time that it always does. I've never heard a single person disappointed with GG's egg tarts :)

    I haven't had Hainan Chicken out since SoCal and learning to make my own, was this one good?

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    1. I didn't try the chicken, but I did try the rice. I felt like the rice could have used a little more seasoning. My husband enjoyed the chicken - he said it was nicely cooked, tender and retained good moisture :)

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  2. Golden Gate Bakery was on our list when my boyfriend & I visited during the summer, but we weren't hungry when we walked past. :P We'll definitely visit it the next time we're in SF.

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  3. Yum yum!!!! I really hope we move to the Bay area now!

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  4. Have you ever had the egg tarts from Cafe Margaret/Cafe Andrew in Macau?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't! I've only been to Macau a few times to visit my Grandma when she lived there, but that was way before I took an interest in food. If I ever visit again, I'll have to check it out!

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  5. I think their egg tarts are the best too! Glad you found so many yummy things in SF chinatown :)

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    Replies
    1. Hehe, I am reveling in the food adventures I'm having here!

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  6. Oooo I love egg tarts and this made me drool!!

    katattack2000.wordpress.com

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  7. awww sad i missed you this weekend!
    i love egg tarts from golden gate bakery! this place was popular when i was a little girl. my mom used to bring me egg tarts from GGB. Brings back good memories...lol

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    Replies
    1. You are SO lucky to have grown up here! I feel like I need to make up for lost time living in the midwest, lol.

      Will have to meet up again soon!

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  8. Everything looks yumm! Ive gotto try atleast a few from this list...

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  9. Yaaay. Food post. I thought for a long time that I didn't like egg tarts. As it turns out, I just don't like bad egg tarts. But a good one... Oh my goodness!
    The meals look good too. I was pretty excited about my yummy salad... but now I want Chinese food!

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    Replies
    1. Ain't that the truth? A bad egg tart is pretty horrendous. My MIL made one once in a normal sized pie crust and eagerly watched me eat it. I told her I was full. She said no problem, just eat the filling! 0_0

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  10. Those egg tarts look heavenly and your review has made me crave them (and I'm usually not a huge egg tart fan!). Keep your food posts coming! I love your candid and honest reviews!! xoxo, Phoebe

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    1. Aw, you're so sweet Phoebe - thank you!

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  11. My mouth is watering looking at your pictures. I have to try to stop by the Golden Gate Bakery next time I visit San Francisco.

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  12. this makes me miss sf so much!

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  13. Generally, I am not a fan of egg tarts but these loooook so good! I think I said it before but I am going to say it again - So jealous of all the wonderful food you get to try =) Enjoy your week, S!

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  14. 1500+ reviews and 4.5 stars -- I'm so glad it lived up to the review. Luckily, we can always trust Yelp!!! The egg tarts, my hub's favorite, looks awesome!! Love the thin buttery flaky crust and just-right filling. I can't believe it was a 45 min wait though. Woweee. And your HK "cha chan ting" visit looked very authentic. My hubs LOVED these places when we visited HK. Reminded him of his childhood. And chestnuts, what's up with chestnuts. My MIL loves them too! Haha

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    1. LOL on chestnuts! Must be a generational thing?

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  15. I love SF and miss it so much!!! I rely on Yelp too when traveling! :D

    Angela W.
    http://weekdays2weekendsinstyle.blogspot.com

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  16. omg i LOOOVE SF chinatown!! the dim sum is soo cheap there!!!

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  17. Omg, I LOVE egg tarts. And it's so obvious when you eat a really good one compared to a bad one. Yum, now I want one!

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

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  18. The egg tarts at Golden Gate Bakery is awesome. I waited about 30minutes last time. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  19. Hello.
    Regards from Portugal - again :)
    Were the egg tarts anithing like these? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastel_de_nata

    If so, they're a traditional sweet of ours, and I can get you a recipe, if you'ld like.

    Happy and prosperous new year
    Red poppy

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    Replies
    1. Hello! I've had those before and they are very yummy, but these didn't have the caramelized sugar spots. Thanks for offering though!!

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  20. or how about the last time i went to SF & GGB was on my list, then we go...CLOSED!!!! they were on vacation. =/

    oh well, at least i'm not a huge egg tart fan. my friend was more disappointed.

    i'm entirely SUPER jealous of cheap asian eats in SF, let me tell you. I just love to devour asian food. must be the addictive MSG. but i dont curr. i crave it 24/7. there are just so many options. pls keep posting. i love seeing!

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    1. I heard about their random closings on Yelp and was glad they were open when we went. They actually seemed to have a pretty large staff so they must have one heck of a vacation when they go.

      There aren't cheap eats in SD? That's disappointing to hear! Come up here and we'll go nosh on some goodies together :)

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  21. I had a trip to SF earlier this year and booked a hotel right next to Chinatown just for the convenience of hitting all these delicious Chinese bakeries. However, we didn't find out this place was closed for a week (for unknown reasons) until we got there! Huge disappointment... But to this day, my friends and I are still talking about the 40 cents pineapple buns that we bought every morning in the SF Chinatown. We get nowhere close to that price or quality in the East Coast!

    Will definitely look for this place again next time when I visit SF!

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  22. Can you tell I'm now catching up on your blog? Omg the Golden Gate Bakery egg tarts really are the BEST! Lots more eating adventures to come in SF I'm sure! =)

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