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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.

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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?

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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?

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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)

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...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.

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trillium   
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

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mudbug   

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)

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Wena   

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:

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mudbug   

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.

;)

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pim   

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.

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Wena   

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

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Pan   

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:

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Pan   
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.

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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.

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Pan   

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.

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Wena   
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.

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Pan   

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.

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cwyc   

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

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kOffkOff   

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

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

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

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jschyun   

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)

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