Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ah Wang Bakery in C-town (Hong Kong TEAS!!)

Welcome to Ah Wang Bakery on 42 Mott Street. This truly is a hole in the wall bakery that offers an assortment of Hong Kong prepared teas, small food items and limited baked goods. Its easy to walk right by this establishment, especially with all the optical stores around it and the distracting Chinese characters that have plastered the windows of the store -- but its an interesting little store to walk into if you are craving some good Hong Kong drinks and rice noodle with mixed sauce!

I tried a few of the items from the store and here are my thoughts:

Steamed Buns - $0.80 each (no, i didn't put the decimals in the wrong place). There are four different kinds - Pork with Vegetables Bun, Chicken Bun, BBQ Pork Bun and Plain Bun. I tried the BBQ Bun based on their recommendation and have to say I had better and would recommend not buying this. There was an interesting, almost medicinal herb like smell to it. The meat was - ok -

My favorite BBQ pork bun is probably still from Fay Day Bakery and if its Pork with Vegetable - I'd get it from the Bayard Meat Market (but there are so many other places too).

Hong Kong Drinks - The pink menu photo indicates all the different types of drinks that they offer and there are more variety in the refrigerator -- most of them being Hong Kong style drinks -- i.e. HK Style Tea w/ or w/o Lemon, Ginger Honey, Ovaltine/Holick Drinks, Red Bean, Sugar Cane, Milk Tea, Herbal Tea ... and my favorite - Chrysanthemum Tea with Honey/Sugar ... ah, so thirst quenching! I loved the Chrysanthemum Tea, probably because it reminded me of how my mom used to make it for me. :D The prices vary from hot and cold teas to small to large sizes -- but you won't pay less than $0.85 and no more than $2.50 for a drink (beat that Starbucks!)

They also make Smoothies in a variety of fruits -- watermelon, strawberry, mango, taro, etc...I personally didn't try it, but its offered there.

Small Food Items: They have an assortment of quick small food items. They have curry balls (similar to the foods you would get at the HK street carts) and rice noodle with mixed sauce. I didn't try the curry balls, but the rice noodle with mixed sauce was amazing! Its such a simple dish you'd be surprised at how great it tastes. The rice noodles are rolled up like a yoga mat and is served with a mixed sauce that consists of soy sauce, thin plum sauce and peanut sauce. It is then topped off with some sesame seeds. It is on the sweeter side of things, but not overwhelmingly so. If you want to add some "heat" to it, they also have hot sauce that they can add. Additionally, the rice noodles are given to you in a portable container -- which I ordered and took with me on the subway! very convenient! Price of the rice noodle with mixed sauce is $1.50.

Limited Baked Goods: Though the store is called a bakery, it doesn't provide what you think the typical American bakeries offer, or even some of the bigger Chinese bakeries. They offer Ham & Cheese sandwiches, Shredded Dried Pork Sandwiches (Formosa Brand Pork Sung - would say its an acquired taste, but i like it -- but do expect a lot of calories since the pork is held onto the bread with mayonnaise), Fortune Cookies, and a few other items. Again, I would use the term "bakery" loosely.

Overall, this store was a great find -- especially if you want some good HK teas and walk-and-eat like snacks. Don't let the small-ness of the store fool you, there usually a line to get your drinks and snacks at all hours of the day. The staff speaks limited English, but there offerings aren't so vast that you can't figure out what you want without pointing. So don't be intimidated by all the Chinese writing on the window or in the store - go in and order!

Happy Eating in Chinatown!

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