Friday, February 24, 2012

Dough Ho, Part 1: Tea Shop 168

In general, I try to have a good rapport with everyone in my office, the largest place I’ve ever worked. I think, overall, I succeed. The reality is though, that I have better relationships with some people than others. 

Sometimes it’s based on various commonalities, like a love of foods, animals, or art. That’s the way these things go where you have to play nice with others, such as school, and eventually work. I do wish we had naps at work, and perhaps even snack. 

Speaking of which, this posting was inspired by both work and snacks. I was having a conversation with a colleague that I really enjoy talking to, and the topic was Chinese bakeries. This is definitely something I file under “Awesome Things The Fisherman Has Introduced To Me and Will Be Eternally Grateful.” While calling both Chinese and American/Western establishments “bakeries,” their styles are quite different, which is what I like. 

It’s a fun, whimsical trip in baking, pastry making, and various bread-like treats. They’re on the snack-size, for the most part, are incredibly cheap (I think the max I’ve seen one item is $2.00), and it’s fun to see different versions of what we know as baked goods. 

Here I’ll write about one of two places in Flushing, Tea Shop 168 and Bakery and next posting, and close by Tea Shop 168, Yeh's Bakery. Worry not, this topic is far from covered in this one post, mostly because The Fisherman and I do enjoy going to these bakeries.

First up, Tea Shop 168, which is actually more known for its bubble tea than it being a bakery, hence the name Tea Shop and Bakery. It has an incredible breakfast selection, general menu of hot items, bakery items, and of course various teas, bubble and otherwise. 

Here are a tiny fraction of items they have here, and usually other similar bakeries. 

Pineapple buns, which, actually don’t have any pineapple. The name comes from the texture of the top of the bun, which is cookie-like in texture. Amazingly good!

Steamed pork bun, one of my favorites. I get ‘em whenever I can, and they vary in greatness, sadly.

Cream bun with almonds. Tastes like bread with cream. It's an acquired textural mashup. When in Rome...

Pork floss bun. I think we have a case of lost in translation here, it’s really more like a dry thready bacon bit. Delicious, try it, I promise it’s bacony goodness.

This looks like a boob. Sorry, sometimes I revert to a 13 year-old boy. 

Lotus seed paste bun. I don’t love lotus seed paste (as seen in mooncakes), it’s like a very rich peanut butter. Very rich. You might like it. I’d give it another try.

Something more familiar, called strawberry jam and pineapple jam cakes. Never had them, maybe one day...

Roll cakes, bûche de noël eat your heart out! I haven’t had one of these yet, but the soft spongy cake with the creaminess is probably incredible. I’ll keep you posted if and when I can be trusted not to eat the whole thing by myself.

More fun cake in interesting configurations.

Red bean paste pastries. Red bean paste has the texture of really creamy refried beans, but very, very sweet! It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I’d recommend trying it. Many Asian sweets incorporate sweet bean pastes so it’s a regular flavor. I do love it as an ice cream flavor.

And, while we’re talking bakery and not tea, here’s our bubble teas. Definitely not as super sweet as others I’ve had, like in Quickly, which, is good as I’m no longer a teenager and find the sugar overload waaay too much. I’m getting old…

We haven’t figured out what’s up with the labels, we’ll keep you posted.
Well, I hope that’s enough sugar to drag you through this grey, rainy, dreary day here in NYC. At least it’s Friday. Next, we’ll explore another bakery, Yeh’s. Yay Yeh! Until then, mangia!

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