Worth The Wait: Yung Sing Pastry Shop

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Like finally getting round to cracking the spine of 100 Years of Solitude (always a bridesmaid, eh Marquez?), sampling the flavour at Yung Sing Pastry Shop is something i've been meaning to do for what also seems an embarassing eternity.

What took me?

Dunno.

Curiously, every time i managed to find myself jonesin' for a snack this side of Baldwin for say the past decade, i've always been inexplicably greeted by the cheerfully sneering 'closed' sign dangling inside the locked door of a suspiciously empty shop. For reasons obscure, cosmic, co-incident or perhaps even statistical for all i know, i can't dismiss the possibility that every other time i managed to make my way down here it was on a Monday when they are closed.

So considering the shambolic odessey preceding my arrival on Yung Sing's doorstep this particular grey, april-showered afternoon i s'pose it's only fitting that i'm forced to wait a little longer to sample the goods and frankly almost relieved to see the shop stuffed to bursting with the regular noontime hungry republic of angel-eyed Kensington kids, erstwhile undergrads and Steven Davey disciples all hip to what are rumoured to be some of the finest chinese buns in the city.

Checking the chalkboard menu behind the counter of this pleasantly bright and plant-filled space reveals a list of the usual suspects with a few interesting twists (the most intreguing one for me being the fried rice bun which is unfortunately sold out by the time i get up to the front of this line– a testament to its quality no doubt). So I opt for those old standards barbecue pork and curried beef bun along with a 'pork roll'. Most of the buns on the menu are $.90 each which is average for a chinese bun but a steal for how good these treats turn out to be. The pork roll is quite tasty, a deepfried gluten ball stuffed with pork and dried shrimp, it provides a decent introduction and sets the bar for what follows. Known by various names, the pork roll is probably familiar to every dim summer, but the care paid and attention to detail seem to elevate this one a notch above your average dumpling (speaking of which: Yung Sing offers shrimp-packed Har Kao and pork Siu Mai on weekends i'll definitely have to try upon my return which will definitely be soon).

As for the baked buns? Although these buns lack the sweetly varinished sheen of most of their chinatown counterparts that's where the dullness ends. The Bun itself is impossibly light, the soft dough intreguingly sweet though not overly so and i find myself marvelling at how exactly it manages to keep contained the remarkably subtle combination of meats and sauces couched within. The barbecue pork bun is excellent, trading in the typical ketchupy-red barbecue sauce for something more mahogany in colour and akin to gravy. The sweetness is still there but its not trying to hide anything as it plays well off the abundant barbecued pork.

That's nothing compared to the curried beef bun. I'm blown away by the almost spicy-sweet nuttiness curry that seems to shift through the flavour palette at will flirting with each flavour long enough to make you miss it when it's gone. I wanna blow my brains out its so good. I'd be droppin' f-bomb superlatives if my mouth wasn't so happily fully. Then the sadness like an april rain– i'll never have a chinese bun that i won't in some way compare to this moment. This is the thrill of the hunt for me! Every once-in-a-while someone manages to breathe new life into the simplest or most commonplace foodstuff and creates something utterly inspiring and elegant. Believe me, you've got to try these cheap, tasty treats. Just don't wait as long as I did.

Yung Sing Pastry Shop

22 Baldwin Ave.

Open Tuesday-Sunday

11am- 7pm

Closed Mondays

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