In my search for good pastry and baked goods, I had more misses than hits. Even though I’m willing to pay $6-$7 for an item, all I get in return is either a sickly sweet slice of cake or crumbling cupcake. In the mist of these depressing experiences there will always be a place that I know I can turn to for a good bite. Located at the corner of Hudson Street and Beach Street in Chinatown is Hing Shing Pastry. From moon cake to roast pork buns, Hing Shing Pastry offers a wide variety of Chinese baked goods.
The glistening egg tart sitting in the display case calls for my attention. The flaky puff pastry tart shell is light and crispy, not at all affected by the sweet, creamy egg custard that could sometimes cause the tart shell to become gooey and mushy. The size is not too small, not too big, giving me a pastry satisfaction without feeling the sugary sickness.
While the egg tart was the perfect cure for my sweet tooth, the savory ham and egg bun was filling without giving me the feeling of being overstuffed. At first glance customers might not notice the ham and egg since it is wrapped up inside a light and fluffy bun, but the first bite will prove that you have not been ripped off. The best part about the ham and egg bun is that the egg is real. The egg is not a plastic yellow disk that makes me ask, “Would I die if I ate it?” Ham and egg bun is a good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s still good even after the first day, just toss it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and it seems like it was fresh baked.
Nothing beats the “bor lor bao”, or, direct translation, “pineapple bun.” When I was a child I always wondered why there aren’t real pineapples in it, but my mother explained that the name comes from the appearance of the bun which with its crisscross pattern resembles a pineapple. On top of the bun there is a thin layer of cookie crust made out of sugar, eggs, flour, and lard. After the baking process, the top has a crunchy, sweet crust that goes perfectly with the soft bun. To enhance the Hong Kong experience, go home and stick a pad of butter in the pineapple bun. It becomes a heavenly mix of the sweet and salty, satisfying both the sweet tooth and the salty craving.
top: egg tart. bottom: pineapple bun
Most items at Hing Shing Pastry are less than $2, which makes them a great stop for a quick, cheap breakfast or lunch. Perhaps one downside to Hing Shing is their lack of drinks. Most Chinese bakeries also serve coffee or milk tea because they are a perfect companion to a bun or egg tart. Their lack of drinks could probably be explained by the size of their store. It’s quite small and there are not seats. Whatever you buy will have to be for take-out, but their food is good enough for me to take that extra trip to another store for a drink.
For those of you who don’t speak Chinese don’t worry, because next to each item is a tag with the name of the item in English. If the tag still doesn’t help you with ordering then the group of ladies behind the counter are always there to answer your questions.
Hing Shing Pastry
67 Beach Street
Boston, MA 02111-2130