The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

mm, bun of pork

the door is bad

HI THERE. I didn't know how to start this entry, so I thought I'd thought I'd take the weight off myself of having to fulfill any expectations of coming up with something amusing (I'm not sure if that was worded correctly but...hey, you don't care) and just show you this funny sign that was on the door to the Golden Dragon Boat Cafe and Bakery (111 Bowery). The assumption is that this door is bad in the sense of "not working correctly", as opposed to "possessed by evil demons who can make the door shatter at will and impale you with lots and lots of lovely shards of glass". Carol and I walked inside without being impaled. Hoorah!

Strawberry Pucca cake
Pucca cake

The door may be bad, but the cakes are ADORABLE! I don't even like Pucca (for whatever reason my brain responds primarily to cute Japanese things, not Korean or Chinese [or any other Asian country that makes cute "fancy goods"]), who in my opinion She's not the opposite of cute, but something about her bothers me. She doesn't want me want to puke rainbows, you know what I mean? And god knows how I love puking rainbows.

...On that note, this cake is very cute. I like the use of clear mystery goo, which is probably like all the other goo, except weirder looking because it's clear. You don't see much clear goo on cakes, do you? It's a bit, dare I say, mucilaginous (don't you just love that word?). I don't know why they didn't just draw the facial features directly on the white colored frosting instead of floating it on a clear layer of goo, but it looks kinda cool and, golly gee, it might even taste good. Surely it's worth 80 cents.

golden dragon cake
golden dragon cake

However, it was this cake that really...took the cake. Sorry. I couldn't think of another way to say it because you know me and my disdain for thought processes. How about, "took the canned ham"?

So this cake really took the canned ham. That is one crazy dragon. You can see the damage that years of cocaine and alcohol abuse (or whatever it is that dragons abuse; how would I know?) took in its beady eyes. Frankly, I'm amazed at how much detail went into this 80 cent cake. It has eyelashes, a row of pointy teeth, perhaps some red moustache-thing going on, a blond mane, and some stuff coming out of its nose. Chocolate, I think. If this dragon were real, its eyes would be popping out all over the place like that scene in An American Tail: Fieval Goes West. You konw, the one with the have no idea what I'm talking about, do you? (On that note, An American Tail is one of my favorite childhood movies. By the way, the movie with that guy in the store talking to that other guy with the hair and the thing was really...good.)

Frog coffee cake
frog coffee cake

Oh jeez, you thought I was done with the cute cakes? NO. IT NEVER ENDS. Look at those cute Keroppi-esque frogs. Not only are they smiling, but they're hugging red jelly hearts! It's your heart! Or their hearts! ...Or...wait, now it just got gross. Well, if you don't look at the frogs as hugging organs that shouldn't be outside of ones body (a category that most organs fall under), then they're pretty cute.

I wonder how many bakeries go nuts with the cake decorations like Golden Dragon Boat. We need to acknowledge its awesomness, yes? Sadly, I keep taking photos of these cakes without actually buying them. Someday one of you should go on a cake-tasting spree with me.

Hello Kitty Cake
Hello Kitty cake

That's the last cake photo. Promise.

Oh, if you thought we left the bakery without getting anything, you are wrong. Dead wrong. ...But without the death. Carol got a regular red bean bun and an almond tea and we both shared shared a red bean "Mexican" bun, definitely one of the better red bean buns I've had in Chinatown. Carol said it best; the filling wasn't too sweet and tasted like RED BEAN. Yes yes, I know it's supposed to, but it tasted like red bean in the sense that the filling wasn't totally mashed up beans. You could really taste the beanyness. I also really like Golden Dragon Boat's Mexican buns in general, which I'm sure aren't really like Mexican pastries, but adapt a bit of Mexican pastry-ness into Chinese pastries. I know that's a pointless description, so...

...That's why we need a website dedicated to Chinatown bakeries and all the goodness they contain. Seriously! I had this idea last year, but the idea of going to every bakery and eating everything in order to best serve the Chinatown bakery-hunting public (a great lot of you, I'm sure) and subsequently becoming the only Chinese person to become obese from frequenting Chinese bakeries didn't appeal to me. Carol would certainly help me with reviews, but I don't really know how to set up the site. First I'd want to make a list of all the common pastries and then...well, I don't know, I didn't think it out. Even though just about all Chinese bakeries have similar items, they definitely vary a bit from place to place in taste and price ($0.60 versus $0.70, yo!). I SWEAR THAT THEY VARY!

So that's my crazy idea, not to come into fruition until school ends. Forever. And I gain a second stomach. And I lose some weight. And I design all the other websites I want to work on first.

cash register
cash register

While roaming the bakery-filled streets of Chinatown with Carol, one of the places she had to check out was Mei Lai Wah, an old coffeehouse reknown for its pork buns (cha sui bao). While they have other food besides pork buns (like egg custard tarts; go late and they may dump extras on you for free), the menu taped to their old non-electronic register just lists three things: roast pork baked bun (brown), steamed pork bun (white), and special big steamed (combination of pork, chicken, sausage egg). The regular buns will set you back $0.70 and the special bun, $1.40.

steamed bun
bun innards
baked bun

I didn't mean to eat both at once, but...well, you know what happened. THEY JUMPED INTO MY MOUTH; I couldn't do anything about it. Although both were good (hell, I won't complain for $0.70), I liked the baked bun more than the steamed bun. I love steamed bread in all its plain, soft squishiness, but the baked bun had a little more personality by being shiny and golden on top and crusty on the bottom. On the other hand, the steamed bread was just...well, steamed bready. They both float my boat, but the baked one is more boat floating-worthy. I'd say more about the filling but I'm not very familiar with what pork bun filling "should" be like. How about this: it's chunky, fatty, a little sweet, and, good.

fat glob
fat glob

Ah, there's the fat cube. [shoves it in your face] My first thought when seeing the fat cube was "...uhm", but then I thought about how I slather butter or oil on bread and it didn't seem so strange. I don't see people eating pork fat toast, but they could and that might not be so weird.

...Or maybe it is.

Well. I think that's all you need to know about my fooding yesterday. If you're curious enough to know what I ate today in "I'm too lazy to write real content" bulleted-list form, here goes:

  • Lunch: Tried a flan slice from Financier, which was just alright and not as good as I was hoping it would be. The blueberry muffin from City Bakery (the green bakery really, which is $0.50 less than City Bakery if I remember my prices correctly) was really good! I love muffins and it's definitely one of the better ones I've had, although not as "mouth open wide drooling" worthy as the cookies. I also had a persimmon in attempt to eat something healthy.
  • Dinner: I made some not-so-good soup and mung bean thread noodles with Chinese cabbage. If I haven't mentioned it already, I'm not a big fan of liquids (I like eating calories, not drinking them). I thought I'd make life easier for myself by using up the leftover chicken broth in my fridge and cooking the noodles and cabbage at once. However, I had no idea how to flavor the soup and...well, it's fine for subsistence, let's say that. After that, I ate five of the little pork buns I got from Sun Dou Dumpling Shop, which were pretty good. Dessert was my last pack of kinako Pocky I bought last Friday. Damn, that stuff is good.

Actually, I have another list. Rose tagged me for 10 random facts. I just did the meme, but I'll do it again in a quicker, more easily digestible form:

  1. I have a slight obsession with architecture (mainly modern). I used to buy random books and magazines dedicated to architecture and just stare at them. That's not healthy.
  2. I also have a slight obsession with experimental electronic music, but like architecture, it's just a fraction of the genre that I like. However, within that style, I like just about everything I hear. I'm overly picky and not at the same time.
  3. For a few years (end of middle school), my favorite movie was Happy Gilmore.
  4. Green used to be my favorite color in middle school but soon became my most loathed color in high school since the school colors were green and white and I had to wear a not-so-lovely green and white uniform in marching band, in addition to the school know, green.
  5. The name "roboppy" came from a few of my friends and I taking the first syllable of our names and adding "boppy" to them as screennames. I'm the only one who kept the name for this long though.
  6. I don't drink, smoke, or have any piercings or tattoos. I've never gotten my hair colored either I don't really "get" the point of any of them for myself, but if it works for others that's fine.
  7. I don't wear any makeup besides lip balm, which I highly doubt counts.
  8. I've never had pets.
  9. I stopped watching TV in 11th grade because one day, I just got sick of it. I download a few TV shows, but I wouldn't say it's to the level of the averages TV watcher.
  10. My teachers tend to think I'm smarter than I actually am, but I don't know why.


Allen Wong / January 19, 2006 11:55 PM

Oh man. I think I pulled something laughing at your comment about the substance-abusing dragons. I think think laughing as healthy as it's made out to be.

I love looking at these crazy cakes. And you're right! A whole site dedicated to chinese bakeries in Chinatown. I'll help! Seriously, we can probably get this off the ground. Is this a good place to insert a signature Roboppy(TM?): "WE SHOULD GO[do it]!"?

Kathy / January 20, 2006 1:08 AM

We call those buns (both steamed & baked) "manapuas" in Hawaii (such a happy name!) They're basically the same thing except BIGGER. You can make a nice big meal out of two buns. Oh and you're right, baked wins over steamed. By far. (but super hot fresh steamed comes pretty close...) Do you eat the buns in any order? I like to peel off the browned skin of the baked bun and eat that first. Or sometimes I shove it in my mouth in an attempt to get all the flavors at once. lol. such are the joys of my life. mmm. Pork fat. Buns wouldn't taste good without it! What if we had a bun party in addition to bakery hunt?

serena / January 20, 2006 4:34 AM

i am *so* willing to contribute reviews/pictures for the chinatown bakery site! & all this while, i thought i was the only one... maybe i can be the london correspondent. hehh. it's a Good Idea.

Nerissa / January 20, 2006 9:55 AM

You liked 'Happy Gilmore'? I don't particularly favor the movie but I have an interesting fact about it for you. The golf course shots were taken at Golf Course and Country Club a hop skip and a jump across from where I lived in the Lower Mainland of BC, Canada.

As per usual, I was smiling, snickering and shaking my head through the post. :D

Ani / January 20, 2006 11:02 AM

Oh I really hope you get to do the China town bakery site. I know I save the places you mention in attempt to go to them. Maybe you can make a big list of the differnt type of Asian baked goods and underneath put what restaurant has the best ones? Good luck to you!

roboppy / January 20, 2006 11:30 AM

Allen: You pulled something? YES! I BRING PHYSICAL PAIN! And YES YES, BAKERY WEBSITE! I dunno what to do! Uh. Um. Should probably look at other ratings websites and pick a style I like, but still, I DUNNO. :( I love that I have a TM worthy saying, I do say that phrase a lot.

Kathy: Aw, that does sound cute. Hawaii rules! I don't eat buns in any order, but I haven't eaten them enough times to develop an order, hehe. I would definitely go for a bun party, or a CHINESE BAKERY party!

serena: Whoaa, this site will be GLOBAL. That would be sweet. Kinda like Gothamist and Londonist...but Chinesebakeryist. (First thing: think of a good name for the site.)

Nerissa: Oh man, I watched that movie so many times. I was pretty obsessed with Adam Sandler though and would listen to his CDs over and over again. Ooooover and over. I haven't listened to them in years so I guess I played them out. I hope you didn't get hit with wayward golfballs being so close to the course, hehe.

Ani: I hope so too. BUT THERE'S SO MUCH! So much to record...and to eat. Lordy.

Amy: But she's...not cute enough! Mrah!

Kristen / January 20, 2006 3:44 PM

Hehe, my friend's mom is German and she saves bacon fat to spread on toast, so there ya go, pork fat. Blech!

roboppy / January 20, 2006 4:55 PM

Kristen: Oo, fat on toast! I'm sure it's tasty, eh? it?

eastsidegirl: Get some read bean paste-filled treat! Mmm...beaaanyness...or get a can of beans, but I wouldn't find that as tasty.

hxy / January 23, 2006 11:48 AM

I thought your earlier entries were funny, but you've just out-done yourself! Thanks for yet another entertaining post :)

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