Last month I asked if anyone knew of a bakery in Chinatown that offered egg custard and/or coconut tarts that could compare to those sold by the Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco. The wonder of these tarts was captured perfectly by Melanie Wong and is linked below.
My 1st trek took me to some of those places suggested by karlo, claire li, apple as well as some others along the route
The next phase will hopefully take me to those spots suggested by Maven, Jane P. dave and mrnyc.
Bottom line is while some respectable egg custard tarts can be found in NYC none come close to the those warm wonders of SF's Golden Gate. As far as coconut tarts go, I've sadly accepted defeat. The coconut tarts started off bad and just got worse with each new bakery.
Ok here's the rundown of the trek Part 1 (in order of visit from 1st to last)
Season Bakery (corner Bowery & Hester)
A busy yet grimy looking bakery/cafe had Egg Custard Tarts (ECTs) that tasted better than they looked. The tasty pastry did not shatter but instead sort of crumbled in my hand. The custard's flavor was fair but the texture was a bit thin and watery. The coconut tart was passable but sported an odd yellow hue.
Taipan (Canal btwn Mott & Mulberry)
This bustling shiny bakery/cafe sold two kinds of ECTs for sale, plain and "Portugese Style". I opted for the "Portugese Style" as it more closely resembled what I remembered GG's looked like. Not quite GG quality but definately a step in the right direction. The pastry was extremely flaky and the custard had a flavorful creamy texture. The coconut tart was shaped like a football and had just as much flavor.
Lung Moon Bakery (Mulberry btwn Bayard & Canal)
This place is a true neighborhood bakery, attractively filled with really interesting looking items such as preserved eggs. The ECTs came from the window so it was hard to tell whether their slight warmth was due to the sun or having just come from the oven. I had really high expectations for these and I think that may have been my downfall. The ECTs had a good flavor but the pastry was not crumbly or even as flaky as it should be and the custard seemed a bit too set, like a thickening agent had been added. They weren't bad but certainly not as good as Taipan's and not as good as the my expectations. I was surprised to find the coconut tart wrapped in a plastic bag. The real surprise cam when I took a bite. Heinous was the only thought that came to mind as I hurried to throw it out. That is where the coconut tart quest died.
Mei Lai Wah Coffee Tea House (Bayard btwn Mott & Elizabeth)
This interesting haunt was dominated by the front counter where crowds of people were buying what must be their signature food, steamed buns. They did have a few ECTs and while the custard had the most pronunced egg flavor, the pastry was a soggy mess.
and last but certainly not least...
Nice One Bakery (Bayard btwn Elizabeth & Bowery)
Just when I thought I had passed my limit I noticed this place that iirc is rather new to the block. Overall, a fine ECT with flaky pastry and an tasty eggy custard. This ECT ranks right up there with Taipan and may even beat it on a one on one taste test.
Summarizing...both Taipan & Nice One do not match Golden Gate's ECT but are worth a try if you have the urge.
Hoping to hit the other suggested places this week Thanks all!