• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Gary Soup

Moon Cakes

393 posts in this topic

Where can you get a delicious mooncake in the states?

Anyone?

Haven't had one yet!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where can you get a delicious mooncake in the states?

Anyone?

Haven't had one yet!

Eastern Bakery is my favorite source for mooncakes. Located at 720 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, it is said to be the oldest mooncake-bakery in the U.S. When I lived for three months near (30 minutes' drive from) San Francisco two years ago, I was in heaven going to Chinatown every weekend for dim sum followed by a visit to a bakery. I tried mooncakes at various bakeries and settled on Eastern Bakery's as the best. They bake their own, so the mooncakes are as fresh as can be.

They are a bit old-fashioned in that they have no web-site, but I think they would ship -- not sure, though. Their phone number is 415-433-7973, in case anyone feels like inquiring.

I haven't tried mail-ordering mooncakes because I fear gaining back the fifteen pounds I gained during my time in San Francisco and lost as soon as I returned home. Back then, I had mooncakes every weekend; usual dosage was two mooncakes at one sitting. I have been mooncake-free since, as I don't know of a good source here in the Washington D.C. area where I live and don't even think any bakery here could some close to Eastern Bakery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where can you get a delicious mooncake in the states?

Anyone?

Haven't had one yet!

Eastern Bakery is my favorite source for mooncakes. Located at 720 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, it is said to be the oldest mooncake-bakery in the U.S. When I lived for three months near (30 minutes' drive from) San Francisco two years ago, I was in heaven going to Chinatown every weekend for dim sum followed by a visit to a bakery. I tried mooncakes at various bakeries and settled on Eastern Bakery's as the best. They bake their own, so the mooncakes are as fresh as can be.

They are a bit old-fashioned in that they have no web-site, but I think they would ship -- not sure, though. Their phone number is 415-433-7973, in case anyone feels like inquiring.

I haven't tried mail-ordering mooncakes because I fear gaining back the fifteen pounds I gained during my time in San Francisco and lost as soon as I returned home. Back then, I had mooncakes every weekend; usual dosage was two mooncakes at one sitting. I have been mooncake-free since, as I don't know of a good source here in the Washington D.C. area where I live and don't even think any bakery here could some close to Eastern Bakery.

What varieties do they make? Which do youn like? I'll be in town shortly and am interested in checking them out.

Any other SF Chinese food thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I was in heaven going to Chinatown every weekend for dim sum followed by a visit to a bakery. I tried mooncakes at various bakeries and settled on Eastern Bakery's as the best. They bake their own, so the mooncakes are as fresh as can be.

They are a bit old-fashioned in that they have no web-site, but I think they would ship -- not sure, though. Their phone number is 415-433-7973, in case anyone feels like inquiring.

OK, you've convinced me that you really do like mooncakes -- two in one sitting!

To say Eastern Bakery is a bit old-fashioned is an understatement. I'd guess they used an abacus instead of a cash register, if I didn't know better. The place was chosen by Bill Clinton for a photo-op during his second campaign, I guess you saw the pictures plastered in the window.

Did you also hit Golden Gate Bakery, the one that always seems to have the line out the door (mostly for the egg custard tarts, I'm guessing). And where did you usually go for dim sum?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Eastern Bakery makes just about every traditional variety of mooncake... and my favorite mixed-nut...

...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)...

BB, though I made it clear thet I am not a mooncake fan, the nut ones are the ones that I will occasionaly sneak a sliver of. Now, if some one can just come up with a traditional pecan pie in the shell of a mooncake...

The other Golden Gate Bakery item that people wax orgasmic over are the little chicken pies ("gai pies").

The New Asia (originally called the Asia Garden) is almost up there with Eastern Bakery in the venerability department. It was one of the first (and maybe the oldest surviving) grand "Hong Kong" style dim sum places in San Francisco, and was the place where I passed the "I can eat chicken feet" test 30 years ago or so. (I never really did take a liking to chicken feet, however, and never order them, though my wife will and I will have a nibble). Asia Garden/New Asia is still favored by many elderly Chinese who have been in the US for a long time, and they will tell anecdotes seeing the old-time expatriate actors, performers and literati there. However, there's a general opinion that the quality declined when the restaurant change hands, though I think that the place just kind of stood still in the face of new competition.

I've never been to the Great Oriental.

By the way, the "bees nest" taro croquettes are my favorite Cantonese dim sum item, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Yep. They make the best dan tats ever. I've made myself ill eating them.

I think most of the better dim sum is actually found outside of Chinatown proper, in places where you find the more affluent Chinese neighborhoods. What place is good usually depends on who the chef is, and that changes. Ton Kiang on a good day beats most places but it can be inconsistant.

You've made me very hungry for mooncakes with your descriptions!

regards,

trillium

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mcake1.gif

mcake2.gif

Couldn't resist! From a blog called ::mum-mum::est-eat::in Malaysia about Chinese and Malaysian Food, fantastic pics (be sure to eat first before viewing!

:laugh:


Edited by mudbug (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mudbug. haha! see that u like the mooncake. :rolleyes:

interestingly enough, i know of 2 ppl who have sworned off mum-mum only to come back again.

i do good advertising for food manufacturers. should actually start collecting money for it. :p

anyway, thanks for the mentioned of mum-mum. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My pleasure Wena, I forgot to post the link to the photos and comments on the Mooncake Festival you attended. Great pics! I get hungry every time I visit the blog.

;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Thailand we make mooncake with durian filling. Yum! Really they are!

Those of you who live in or near LA can try the durian mooncake at Bangluck Market in Hollywood.


chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i prefer green tea mooncake. easier on the breath. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I eat mooncakes. I especially liked the ones with coconut that I bought in Malaysia. I ate at least 6 mooncakes during the last month.

I don't love the egg yolks but eat them anyway, in order to get some protein with the prodigious amount of sugar I've eaten. :wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I prefer the all-nut variety, which no one else seems to like.

I like that, too. I don't like nut/fruit cakes that have an evident taste of lard, though, let alone ham in them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I prefer the all-nut variety, which no one else seems to like.

I like that, too. I don't like nut/fruit cakes that have an evident taste of lard, though, let alone ham in them.

My mother likes best the mixed-nut mooncakes that have not only lard and bits of ham but also a prominent taste of GARLIC! She declares the ones without ham and garlic to be pale and poor versions. I myself am ecumenical and never met a mooncake I did not like -- although I can truthfully say that only because I never met a durian mooncake, or even a durian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my just-completed trip to Malaysia, I found that I no longer hate durian, as I did during my previous stint in Malaysia 26-28 years ago. Actually, I can like it when it's super fresh. But I'm still too chicken to get it as anything but fresh fruit off the tree, except that I was also given bubur with durian and found it OK. My folks, who've liked durian ever since they first tried it some 28 years ago, have always hated durian-flavored things. Similarly, I like mint leaves, whether I eat them or have tea from them, but I maintain a strong dislike for anything that's mint-flavored if anything other than fresh or dried leaves are used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, I can like it when it's super fresh. But I'm still too chicken to get it as anything but fresh fruit off the tree, except that I was also given bubur with durian and found it OK. My folks, who've liked durian ever since they first tried it some 28 years ago, have always hated durian-flavored things.

:biggrin:

some food products that are durian-flavored as still popular. ever tried durian flavoured dodol? the coconut flavoured one is nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It might actually have been dodol with durian that I was given. I don't remember, and that isn't because I can't distinguish between bubur and dodol; I definitely can. It was home-made, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starbucks has jumped on the bandwangon and offerss espresso mooncakes at their Hong Kong locations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I didn't read all the posts in this thread, so i don't know if I'm repeating this point.

The most important thing to eating a mooncake is to eat it in very thin slices. Have Chinese tea or green tea to go with it would be even better. And don't eat too much because it is very filling. Just like cheese cakes, eat it in moderate amounts.

I've seen a non-asian foreigner eat his first mooncake and he took a big bite at the whole piece. A very wrong move. It seems his asian friend didnt warn him about it.

Btw, I love green tea mooncakes. I always eat half of a mooncake(sliced) along with a cup of hot green tea


"A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar."

- Lao-Tzu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought mooncakes were oatmeal cookies with marshmallow filling. Am I confused?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought mooncakes were oatmeal cookies with marshmallow filling. Am I confused?

i believe those are moon pies, a southern USA thing.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love mooncakes, and when I read about Eastern Bakery in SF, I realized that was the place I have been getting them. I used to go there for sesame balls too, if I'm not mistaken.

I am not Chinese (Korean) so I don't have the shroud of tradition to hold me to them. I eat them willingly, for the pleasure of eating them! I think it's the melon (seed?) ones that I get or maybe it was lotus paste. I don't remember, because I don't get them that often. I don't like the egg yolk kind.


Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Duvel
      “… and so it begins!”
       
      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

    • By liuzhou
      One of my local supermarkets recently installed a sesame seed pressing facility and is now producing sesame oil and sesame paste. Their equipment toasts and extracts the oil and the residue is turned into the paste. Of course, I bought some of each.
       
      I have only used the oil so far. It tastes and smells more intensely than any I have bought before. The aroma also seems to last longer in a dish.
       

       
      These are the white seed versions. They also do black seed oil and paste which I haven't bought yet.
       
      Neither has any brand label - only a bar code on the back so that the check-out staff can deal with it.
       
      I am sorely tempted to try this recipe from Carolyn Philips for celtuce with sesame oil, paste and seeds. I'll let you know how I get on with this or any other recipe. Suggestions welcome, as always.
    • By Kasia
      Afternoon tea with finger biscuits.
       
      With my children in mind I prepared an extremely simple dessert using natural yoghurt and biscuits as basic ingredients. It was supposed to be for children. By default, though, I prepared a bit more and we were all able to relish it.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      400g of natural yoghurt
      200g of finger biscuit
      200g of raspberries
      2 teaspoons of caster sugar

      Put aside a few nice raspberries and four finger biscuits. Crush the rest of the raspberries with a fork and mix them with the caster sugar. Crush the finger biscuits and blend them with the natural yoghurt. Put the raspberry mousse and then the biscuit mixture into a cup. Decorate the top of the dessert with the raspberries and peppermint leaves.
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Small stracciatella cheesecake with fruit.
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a dessert which I prepared for the beginning of the holiday. The last school tests are behind us, the school reports received, the suitcases almost packed, so now it is time for a reward. My little stracciatella cheesecake isn't that healthy, but sometimes we can overlook one small culinary peccadillo. After all, it is supposed to be a reward. For sure it was light as air, fluffy and melted in the mouth. And the pieces of the dark chocolate were so nice and crunchy. Try it yourself and like me you will fall in love with this dessert.

      Ingredients (17cm cake tin)
      100g of oatcakes
      50g of butter
      250g of mascarpone cheese
      200g of 30% sweet cream
      100g of white chocolate
      100g of dark chocolate
      fruit for decoration

      Put the cookies in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin, and then put them into a small bowl and mix them with the melted butter. Cover a cake tin with the dough. Leave it in the fridge for an hour. Melt the white chocolate in a bain-marie and leave to cool down. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces. Whisk the cream and then add the mascarpone cheese. Add the white and dark chocolate and stir it gingerly and thoroughly. Put the mixture on the bottom with the oatcakes and leave in the fridge overnight. Decorate with your favourite fruit.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       

    • By Kasia
      Cheesecake muffins
       
      Ingredients (6 muffins)
      1 lemon jelly
      10 big strawberries
      200g of vanilla fromage frais
      grated skin from half a lemon

      Dissolve the jelly in 250ml of hot water. Leave to cool down (not to set). Wash the strawberries, remove the shanks and blend them. Mix half of the jelly with the strawberries. Put it into the silicon pastry cases. Leave it to set in the fridge. Mix the rest of the jelly with the vanilla fromage frais. Put it on the strawberry jelly. Leave it to set in the fridge. Immerse the silicon pastry case in hot water for a while to get the dessert out of the dish.

      Enjoy your meal!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.