Chinese/Taiwanese baked goods in the Greater Boston Area

Don’t think we have a thread quite on this.

When in Chinatown a week or so ago, I also stopped by Ho Yuen Bakery on Beach. They used to carry our favorite coconut buns, but we haven’t been there for over two years (and they were closed for at least a year themselves). It was nice to see them back (although I waited outside till there was just one other customer inside). The coconut buns (4) were good, but the filling was a trifle dry. The coconut tarts (4) were excellent. The sesame-beanpaste balls (2) were terrific. We also got two fantastic pork buns and two ok curry buns (filling was tasty, but skimpy, unlike the richly oozing pork buns). There’s some sponge cake in the freezer and 4 coconut-rice rolls. Total cost was $30.

Eta: I knew I was forgetting something. Also got 4 regular egg tarts. Very flaky pastry but very sweet filling.

Anybody else been bakery-hopping lately?


I haven’t gone there since before Covid - so glad they are open! I think what I have always called custard buns are those egg tarts. Now that you’ve reminded me, I HAVE to make a trip in town to get some!


Welcome! My impression is that custard buns are actual buns filled with custard, whereas the tarts are open faced. (And there are the regular egg tarts with a uniform yellow filling, and the Portuguese variety with flecks of caramelized brown on the top.)

We have the in-house bakery at 99 Ranch in Quincy, so on occasion I indulge there if I want a treat on a weekend. I miss some of the baked goods at Crown Royal and Great Taste, and I haven’t been to Chinatown in a while. Crown Royal in North Quincy is no more; I assume their Boston outpost is still running. I really like loaves of thick cut milk bread and that is hard to find in my area. I used to get them from 101 Bakery, or, if I’m in the Allston area, from Yi Sun.

Is the coconut bun the one with the coconut on the outside and the cream in a sliced bun, or the firmer custard like filling that is baked inside? I always get confused by the English names, especially when bakeries aren’t consistent. I like the ones with the yellowish firmer yellow like filling - they’re called cocktail buns (when translated from Cantonese). My other bakery faves are the ‘pineapple bun’, the ham and egg (the old school thick egg and ham ruled), and the ‘wife’ cakes.


The ones at Ho Yuen are neither. I’ve had buns with a coconut-custardy filling in the bun, but the ones at Ho Yuen have more of a rich powdery/flaky filling that’s almost all coconut and sugar (and perhaps a touch of condensed milk). As I said above, the filling was a touch dry last week, but is usually rich and moist.

Like this?
It’s funny - I suppose it is coconut, but I don’t think it tastes very coconutty. In color it looks more custardy to me, but you’re right that’s not an eggy or vanilla flavored custard that most people think of. I don’t like coconut, so if it were any more coconut forward I wouldn’t eat it.

Yep, that’s it. The one at Ho Yuen is unmistakably coconut, so it’s not for you!

So “cocktail bun”, huh? I never knew.

Haha, good to know. I’ll steer clear of their version. Yes, and I have no idea why it’s called that or if they historically have any associations with actual cocktails.

The funny thing is the name in Cantonese for the cocktail beverage is also ‘chicken - end/tail/bottom - alcohol/wine’. I never thought to put 2+2 together that it was a literal English translation. Just thought it was an odd name.

Yes, that’s very funny.