Jump to content
  • 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.

Recommended Posts

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.

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

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.

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)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Today is 小年 (xiǎo nián) which literally means 'little [new] year', but is something more. It takes place approximately a week before Chinese New Year (February 16th this time round - Year of the Dog) and is the festival for the Kitchen God
       
      In traditional animist Chinese thought, there is a god for everything and the kitchen god is responsible for all aspects of, you guessed, the kitchen. Once a year (today), the kitchen god pops back  to report to the god of heaven on the happenings of the last 12 months. Therefore we have to placate him so he makes a good report.  My neighbours are busy preparing offerings of sticky rice and assorted sugary confections for the god, so that when he eats them, his teeth and lips will stick together and he will be unable to report any bad behaviour. An alternative theory suggest the sugary stuff will sweeten his words. Then we'll be OK for another year!
       
      This is  the fellow


    • By dgtronic
      FOOD MASH UP : STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE OREO with DAIM video 

    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or grilled/BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Sliced  Beef
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil, but any  vegetable oil except olive oil would be fine) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs.
      We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By Kasia
      BANOFFE - MY DAUGHTER'S BIRTHDAY CAKE
       
      This year, mischievous nature tried to upset my daughter's birthday plans. Spending your birthday in bed with a thermometer isn't an excellent idea ¬– even for an adult. For a teenager it is a drama comparable to cancelled holidays. My daughter told me that you are thirteen only once. And she was right. Literally and figuratively.

      I wanted to sugar the pill for her on this day and cheer her up for a bit, so I prepared a caramel cake with bananas – banoffee in the form of a small birthday cake. My sweet magic and the dinner from her favourite restaurant worked, and in the end her birthday was quite nice.

      Ingredients (17cm cake tin):
      150g of biscuits
      75g of butter
      200ml of 30% sweet cream
      250g of mascarpone cheese
      2 tablespoons of caster sugar
      2 bananas
      300g of fudge
      1 teaspoon of dark cocoa

      Break the biscuits into very small pieces or blend them. Melt the butter and mix it up with the biscuits until you have dough like wet sand. Put it into a cake tin and form the base. It is worth rolling it flat with a glass. Leave it in the fridge for one hour. Spread the biscuit layer with fudge and arrange the sliced bananas on top. Whisk the chilled sweet cream with the caster sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix it in. Put the mixture onto the bananas and make it even. Sprinkle with the dark cocoa and decorate as you like. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours (best for the whole night).

      Enjoy your meal!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×