A Serious Eats article about the best dan ta (egg custard tart) in Chinatown was recently brought to my attention on Chowhound.com (you can see both articles here and here). They went the remarkable mission of trying 43 bakeries and proclaimed that Bread Talk’s dan ta are the best in Chinatown followed by Golden Manna and Taipan.
Bread Talk is a fairly unknown bakery located in the very southern most part of Chinatown far from the main bustling part of Chinatown. I’ve seen it before, but honestly never thought about trying it. I decided that I had try it as soon as possible since it’s fairly rare for me to hear about something totally new in Chinatown. The bakery is pretty new looking and is a long narrow room with the display cases on the right and seating in the back with Cantonese TV playing in the background. It was actually sort of nice by Chinatown standards and looked very clean. They had signs advertising their 2 for 1 dan ta and ji wei bao (cocktail buns). They also had big signs advertising a long list of steamed bao (buns) with various sweet fillings. I’m not sure if they speak English or not (one yelper claims they don’t), but you should fine since everything is in English and displayed.
Here’s what I tried:
Egg Custard Tart (Dan Ta):
Bread Talk only seems to offer the regular dan ta here not the Portuguese style ones (burnt on top). The egg tarts look very pretty, the crusts look very symmetric and the egg custard is a nice light yellow. The crust was excellent; it was nicely buttery, crispy and flaky. The custard was pretty good, it wasn’t too sweet and when I heated it up it had nice consistency, but it lacked “egginess” and I prefer mine to be egg-y. Overall, I’d say I prefer Ka Wah’s because I like their filling better which you can see here (word of advice, go in the morning when they are fresh as they are quite good in morning) or Double Crispy for Portuguese style egg tarts, which you can see here. With that said this is definitely one of the better dan ta in Chinatown and is worth trying. 8/10 (8.25/10 for the crust, 7.5/10 for the filling)
Cocktail Bun (Ji Wei Bao / Gai Mei Bao):
Cocktail buns are one of my favorite Hong Kong pastries. Their Chinese name literally means chicken tail bun hence the name cocktail bun. A cocktail bun is a soft baked bun filled with a sweet, salty and buttery shredded coconut filling. They were supposedly created in HK back in the 50s when people were trying not to waste ingredients so they created these. Quality can vary pretty heavily with good ones being awesome and bad ones being pretty bad since they can be way too sweet, buttery, dense etc. Unfortunately, Bread Talk’s version fell pretty flat. The bread was just okay; I found it to be too dense. But the real downfall was the filling was way too buttery and didn’t have enough coconut in it. The version at Mei Li Wah is light years better, so I’d recommend trying them there and don’t waste your calories on them here. 6.5/10
Overall, the dan ta are worth trying and a lot of their steamed buns looked pretty good, so I’ll be back to try some more stuff.
47 Catherine St
New York, NY 10002