golden gate bakery
I don’t make it to Chinatown often, so I was looking forward to an afternoon exploring the neighborhood, taking photos and of course, eating. I know there are MANY bakeries there and my mission was to find the best of the bunch, so I did a little research before my trip and focused my plan; that’s how I discovered Golden Gate Bakery.
Obviating any doubt, the long line outside the bakery confirmed I was in the right place! The queue seemed (to me) to be full of people from the neighborhood, like students on their way home from school, and moms stocking up for their families, leaving with those big, fun, pink boxes tied up with string. (I LOVE those pink boxes tied up with string!)
The line moves quickly, and people watching was fun! One store owner came out of her store, located next to the bakery, breaking the line which now blocked the door to her business. In either in a moment of deviant playfulness, or the opposite, (it was hard to tell which) she placed a small package wrapped in tissue on the pavement and proceeded to light it with a flaming piece of newsprint.
She then ran.
This cleared the line fast because everyone new what would happen in a few seconds. After spitting and smoking, the package exploded and everyone laughed. It was Chinese New Year, after all. (This would never happen in Noe Valley.)
Once you get in the bakery things move fast so be prepared. The counter is small and people are shouting their orders, so the mood can get a little frenetic. I was glad I knew what I wanted, the egg custard tart, and pointed to a few other interesting things, too. The tart was served warm, right out of the oven, and was not too eggy, not too sweet, with a lovely mouth feel. I later wished I’d bought two! Total comfort food.
I also got an assortment of other cakes from the window. I couldn’t tell you what they’re called, unfortunately, but my mix included some barely sweet steamed buns and cookies redolent of coconut. I also got a very fresh, light bun filled with vanilla cream, almost like a doughnut but not quite as sweet and cakey…more brioche/bready.
On the whole, the prices seemed very reasonable, a good value for the quality of the product. And it couldn’t NOT be fresh, everything seemed to be coming straight out of the oven and going directly into the hands of the people in line!
The trip to the neighborhood alone makes for a fun excursion in the City! Check out the tea house, too, right across the street which sure looks exotic. . .
1029 Grant Ave
(between Jackson St & Pacific Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94133
HOURS: Mon-Sun 8 am – 8 pm