Steamed char siu bao is all very well, but sometimes you want the satisfaction of biting into a nice, deeply browned crust before reaching soft bread and a filling of sweet Chinese barbecued pork. That's when Cynsa goes to Lung Fung Bakery, where "the filling is tasty, not too sweet, tender chopped char siu, not-gloppy sauce, and the baked dough is just right—light with just a mere whisper of sweetness." Plus, her mom's senior citizen line dancing class orders them by the box for an after-class snack. What better recommendation can you get? Also try warm, fresh gai mei bao, filled with coconut paste, dan tat (egg custard tarts), and red bean buns, Cynsa says.
Melanie Wong enjoyed the lightness of the bread, but says, "I miss the winey notes of Cafe Bakery's filling." Unfortunately, she says, quality there has gone down. Her fave baked buns are still the smaller ones at TC Pastry.
And in Oakland, Sun Sing Pastry Dim Sum has the best baked char siu bao in Chinatown, abstractpoet says. The steamed ones are solid, too.
Lung Fung Bakery [Richmond District]
1823 Clement Street, San Francisco
Cafe Bakery [Sunset]
1365 Noriega Street, San Francisco
TC Pastry [Sunset]
2222 Irving Street, San Francisco
Sun Sing Pastry Dim Sum [East Bay]
382 Eighth Street, Oakland