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Unique Pastry


Pan
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I'm always in a rush when I go to this place (off the train, to the sesame bun store, onto the bus with my food!), so I never get any photos, but I want those of you who have a reason to be in Flushing to know about it. It's my standby for sesame buns before work at Queensborough - and I mean, I almost always go there before work - and my regular rotation consists of cabbage (with dried shrimp), spicy chicken, eggs with Chinese chives, and sometimes the mustard green bun that's open on one side like a bulging open sandwich. I tried the spicy beef, but it was rather too spicy for me! I usually get two buns, and that carries me through 6 hours of teaching. The buns are in a patty-like shape of a raised circle and consist of a rather thin but sturdy wrapper and a lot of filling. Each costs between $1 and $1.50, and one or two of them constitute a tasty and very satisfying small meal.

I have a takeout menu from them which doesn't list the sesame buns (they have signs up for those just outside and inside the store listing names and prices in Chinese and English) but does list other items, none of which I've tried as of yet. (I keep telling myself that some day, I'll eat in and have larger items, but I have yet to do so.) It also lists a Chinese name only, and I can't type that for you, but I can give you the street address and telephone number of the place:

135-23 40th Road

Flushing, NY 11354

(718) 888-7790

If you just walk west down 40th Road from Main St. and look on your right for a storefront about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the block (it's closer to Prince) with a display of some food outside the window by the front door, you'll find it. The ladies who serve there speak limited English but are friendly and helpful, and your wallet will thank you! Eating so nicely for such a pittance is a true perk of working so far from my home.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Damn, that sounds great! What's the closest subway stop? And if you can get me the Chinese characters, I can probably translate for you, for the Chinese-only item(s). Also, does the place have any sort of English name?

Edited by durian (log)
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Damn, that sounds great!  What's the closest subway stop?  And if you can get me the Chinese characters, I can probably translate for you, for the Chinese-only item(s).  Also, does the place have any sort of English name?

I think it has an English name, but I don't remember it and you won't see it prominently indicated anywhere. The menu items are in Chinese and English, but the name of the store is given only in Chinese on the takeout menu.

The closest subway stop is Flushing-Main St. on the 7. 40th Road is one block south of Roosevelt.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Michael, do those buns look anything like those pictured here and here? I've never had buns like these. Translated from the Chinese, they're called Fuzhou pepper cakes/buns.

Edited to add: This page has pictures you can click to make bigger. The fuzhou buns are on the second half of the page.

It's interesting that when I was "researching" this topic on the net, all the web references are Taiwanese.

Edited by Laksa (log)
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Edited to add: This page has pictures you can click to make bigger.  The fuzhou buns are on the second half of the page.

They look like the sesame buns on the both halves of the page but are probably wider than the ones on the second half. The ones pictured in the first two links you posted are too small and the wrappers are too dry-looking. The wrappers at the place in Flushing are rather in the character of a moist than a dry bread and aren't that flaky.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I just found the card of this establishment. Its English name is Unique Pastry, and on the back are listings for all their varieties of sesame buns:

Cabbage with Black Mushroom & Dried Baby Shrimp - $1

Mustard Green w/Black Mushroom & Dried Baby Shrimp - $1

Chinese Cabbage & Pork - $1

Chives & Pork - $1

Chives & Egg - $1

Pork with Scallions - $1

Spicy Pork - $1.25

Chicken - $1

Spicy Chicken - $1.25

Beef - $1.25

Hot & Sour Vegetables - $1.25

Spicy Beef - $1.50

Pork with Bamboo in Red Wine Sauce - $1.50

Vegetarian - $1.50

Red Bean (Sweet) - $1

Taro (Sweet) - $1

Lotus (Sweet) - $1

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 6 months later...

I went back to this place as usual to pick up my breakfast/lunch before work yesterday, and was amazed to find out it had been reviewed in the New York Times on March 30, 2005. Not just reviewed, but written about as a kind of feature article:

DINING IN, DINING OUT/STYLE DESK: $25 AND UNDER; A Dream of Ubiquitous Bing

this modest store and an even more ramshackle outpost on the lower level of the Triple 8 Mall under the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown (with no English menu) are the incubators for a plan to spread Unique Pastry shops across New York, New Jersey and eventually all the way to China. Ms. Ting and her partners are building a model store in a mall on Main Street in Flushing and have plans to open two others in Atlantic City. They hope to franchise the business eventually, though Ms. Ting is adamant that the food will remain handmade, both to ensure quality and, she says, to create employment ''for minorities.''

Good woman. But the place was no more crowded than usual yesterday, and as usual, I was the only non-Chinese person there. Still, it's great that they got some publicity and that Peter Meehan appreciated their food. I disagreed with him on this, though:

hot and spicy greens in a third are strictly for those who enjoy Chinese-style fermented vegetables

I didn't notice a fermented taste, more like preserved vegetables (is that the same?). Actually, the hot and spicy vegetables bun is one of my favorites, and I got it yesterday along with a spicy chicken bun.

I also got a smile out of Ms. Ting by mentioning that Meehan missed their beef tendon noodle soup, which I like.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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For those who want to make a trip during the weekend, I would go early if you want the most variety. I'm not entirely sure when they close but when I go on the weekends, it's usually slim pickings after 2-3 pm. (Some people must be buying the lotus ones in bulk because they're never available when I'm there!)

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  • 1 year later...

Word to the wise:

There's a new branch gradually ramping up its operations on 3rd St. and 6th Av. in the Village. There's a very active thread about it on Chowhound. I haven't been over to try the place yet but plan on doing it. If any of you try it, please report on your experiences.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been to the W 3rd street bing place 5 times already, and I've been out of town for 10 of the days that its been open. I live in the neighborhood and my husband and I are totally addicted. I had one for breakfast and wanted to go back for lunch.

I tend to order the same things over again, so I've only had: pork and cabbage dumpling, Taro roll, spicy chicken roll, mixed veggie bing, pork and cabbage bing, pork and chives bing, and banana bing. And a fresh honeydew drink. The bings cost between 1.50 and 1.95, with buns being about .50 less. This morning we went at 10:30 am and there was a full stock of bings, the pork and chives were fresh, hot, and delicious. The dumplings are more like small buns and come 6 to an order. The pork and chive bings that I've had are the best thing I've sampled. The spicy chicken roll tasted bad to me because it had cilantro, but I can see how someone who liked cilantro would like it.

Edited by baw (log)
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Banana bing, that's something new!

Are there any other bing being served at that location that aren't on the menu (shown upthread) of the Flushing location?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Not all the bings are available all day. I tired to stop in around 1-ish for a banana bing one day last week and they didn't have it or the red bean bing--only savories. I wonder if the sweet ones are limited to earlier in the day.

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Pan - I believe that there is a slightly smaller selection of bing than your list above. The banana is the only standout difference. I remember: banana, red bean, taro, mixed veg, cabbage, hot and sour veg, chicken, spicy chicken, beef, pork, spicy pork, pork and chive, pork and cabbage. Perhaps spicy beef as well. I'd like to try a chive and egg or a cabbage, dried shrimp, mushroom bing as you describe above! The banana was OK. Good as a bfast bing, but I wouldn't get it aside from that. There was a much higher dough to filling ratio than the savories that I've tried.

And noodlebot is right... they don't have all the bing all the time. I think its because they run out and not because of any specific pattern of only having sweet in the morning. One morning, they were out of mixed veg so I got cabbage. I just was there 15 minutes ago (second time today, I know) and they did have sweet bing.

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From my experience from the (Chinese) 35th St Bakery (near 8th Ave), I think this is probably true. Savory breads are available at lunch, and by the end of the day only sweet pastries are left.

And noodlebot is right... they don't have all the bing all the time.  I think its because they run out and not because of any specific pattern of only having sweet in the morning.  One morning, they were out of mixed veg so I got cabbage.  I just was there 15 minutes ago (second time today, I know) and they did have sweet bing.

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