To Gary Soup and Eatingwitheddie: Eastern Bakery makes just about every traditional
variety of mooncake: plain, single-yolk, and double-yolk lotus-paste; plain, single-yolk, and double-yolk red-bean-paste; plain, single-yolk, and double-yolk black-bean-paste; and my favorite mixed-nut. The mixed-nut ones come in shapes, too, like pigs and Buddhas. I confess I tried and liked them all.
But you won't find at Eastern Bakery any of the new-fangled varieties some of you have mentioned on this thread. This place is as old-fashioned as can be.
Eastern Bakery also makes the best bo lo mien bao (crusty-topped baked bun) of all the places I tried. It was the site of my humiliating begging for the recipe, declined repeatedly with a silent shake of the head!
Eastern Bakery's mixed-nut mooncake had the best flavor among the mixed-nut mooncakes I tried in S.F. Chinatown, including the ones at Golden Gate Bakery, which I made a point to try because of the line of people coming out of its front door (it must be good, right?). I decided that Golden Gate's forte must be something other than mooncakes. Personally, I didn't "get" why the place was so popular. Their bo lo mien bao (crusty-topped baked bun) wasn't anything special. Gary, I think you're right that all those people are lined up for egg tarts, which I noticed they do run out of early in the day.
As for dim sum, my two favorite places were Great Oriental and New Asia because they both meet my litmus test for a dim-sum place, i.e. make an exceptional deep-fried savory taro croquette (wu gok). Everything else on their menus that I tried was excellent. Great Oriental is a small place, where you find locals eating dim-sum breakfast as early as 7:30 (I think that's when they open) and where the dim-sum offerings rotate and were slightly different every day. New Asia has a huge, fancy banquet-hall that seats a lot and offers the same large menu of dim sum every day. One caveat: my experience in S.F. Chinatown came before I discovered egullet.com and chowhound.com, so I unfortunately did not then have the benefit of your insights as to good dim-sum places. I think if I went again I would definitely have to try the places that people have raved about in dim-sum threads.
edited: italicizing correctly, and sundry typos!
Edited by browniebaker, 18 August 2003 - 10:32 AM.