[SF Chinatown] Golden Gate Bakery

Thought this is going to be a gushing post about egg custard tarts?

What prompts me to write is actually the sachima (沙琪瑪/ 馬仔). I am quite fond of the supermarket versions even though almost all of the time they are way too sweet. The Golden Gate Bakery version is malty, a little smokey, and slightly sweet. I am not a sachima connoisseur by any means, so I haven’t gone around and try every bakery’s version, but this is a good rendition.

The egg tart. The flakey crust tastes good with a shattering texture. We bought them when they were still too hot to consume. (I don’t understand why they were in a transparent plastic box, however, if they just came out of the oven.) The custard doesn’t look like they have an excessive amount of yellow coloring. But as in many commercially produced egg custard tart, its too sweet with too little eggy and too much sugary taste (and maybe a hint of vanilla?). To be fair, even some of the supposedly exemplary renditions (that I enjoy much) in Hong Kong, like Tai Cheong and Honolulu, has similar shortfalls- custard too sweet/ artificial- in my opinion.

$2.25 each now. Wasn’t it $1.75 just a year ago? Things are getting pricey. A few people in front of us at 7pm. It seems crazy to wait for egg tarts if there is a long line.

Is there any place in SFBA that does egg tarts better than GGB?


Mr. Bread
1018 Taraval
between 20 - 21st Avenue
open at 6:30 am - closed Tuesday

Breakfast at the New Taraval Cafe at 7 am…with a stop at Mr. Bread.
Dan tats are good, Portuguese egg tarts are better!


I was going to comment that the sachima looked like Rice Krispie Treats, consulted Wiki first, and sure enough, in the very first paragraph they make that comparison.

Mr. Bread’s Portuguese egg tarts$1.50
dan tat $1.20


I still need to try Mr. Bread. Last time I was there all the tarts were out in the morning already because people reserved everything for some holidays. :anguished:

I have never tried Rice Krispie Treats so i don’t have the comparison. But something interesting that I didn’t know before I visited the Wiki page: that sachima was from Manchuria, i.e. modern-day Dongbei.

Egg custard tart is definitely the most famous pastry from Golden Gate Bakery. I like their mooncakes too. I used to buy them every other week when I was living in Berkeley. I love many products from Golden Gate Bakery. Surprisingly, I don’t hugely like the sachima. I do enjoy the malty flavor, but I simply prefer the softer and tender alternatives.

Nah, $2.25 is not charging too much. If anything, it is too low. If you have a huge wait line and/or selling out all their products, then these prove the good commands more demand than its supply, which means an underpriced situation. Have you heard the Freakonomics session on ticket prices?

"DUBNER: I love that you go right to tickets being underpriced, because I bet a lot of people hearing this think, “Oh man, no, no — events, musical events, concerts, sports events, they’re way overpriced!” But you the economist go straight to underpriced. Can you explain that?

BUDISH: Sure. You caught me being an economist, thank you for that. So artists often want to sell their tickets at a — to an economist — an artificially low price. And what I mean by that is a price at which demand dramatically exceeds supply."

Well, some people like AA Bakery & Cafe egg tarts

I still think its one of the top spots for egg custards in SF. Then again, its probably because its pipping hot right out of the oven when I eat one.

My preference is for the flakey layered tarts versus the cookie pastry crust. But yeah, GG bakery is getting more expensive (though they are less than a croissant…) and have more irregular hours than most places I’ve seen (I swear they’re on vacation for at least 15 weeks in a year…)

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That’s what the wife comments- that the sachima is too hard. I prefer softer too, though I don’t mind the harder ones as well.

That is true, they can probably charge more. But I guess the tourists may buy 2, instead of e.g. 4 if its more expensive.

Well, if you eat the sachima right away, then it is ok. However, since it is already pretty hard, any small amount of drying out will make it way too hard in my opinion.

"But I guess the tourists may buy 2, instead of e.g. 4 "

That is fine. Golden Gate is always selling out their egg tarts and I would say that people are more discouraged by the long line instead of the price point.

Good quality stuffs deserve a good price. In my opinion, if a boring Starbuck pumpkin scone can be charged $3 (and they expect you to tip them too), I think $2-3 good quality egg tart is well deserved. Starbuck pastries are not out of the world…

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I’ve always loved ‘sachima’ - when I visited Taipei’s National Palace Museum back in 2010, I was fascinated to learn that ‘sachima’ was a Tartar dessert, introduced to the Chinese by the Manchus. I subsequently encountered the same dessert, with minor variance in texture & sweetness, in Russia, Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan, where it’s known as ‘chak-chak’.

Pictured below is the ‘chak-chak’ I had at Sultan Restaurant in Almaty, Kazakhstan.


I thought Kazakhstan only has high quality potassium. :sweat_smile:

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And a lot of oil which makes it richer than its neighbours (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, etc.)

I was joking about the potassium…from a satire movie.


I was there on a business trip and was amazed at how wealthy Kazakhstan was, in comparison with neighbouring Uzbekistan. Whilst both were former Soviet socialist republics, Uzbekistan still retain much of the “old Soviet”-era image: only 3 types of cars on the streets, many are Russian Ladas. In Kazakhstan, you see a Lamborghini showroom the moment you exit the airport terminal building in Almaty. Posh cars filled the roads - Beemers, Merc, Porsche - an amazing contrast for someone who just flew in from Uzbekistan. There are even branches of Saks Fifth Avenue and a Hard Rock Cafe downtown - so not as “Soviet” as I’d expected the place to be. Food is good in Almaty although, as I understand from my Kazakh & Uzbek colleagues, they claim the best food city in the former Eastern bloc is Tbilisi in Georgia.

That is HORRIBLE! You need to warn your friends.

So one can munch on a piece of the finest sachima with one hand, point to the Lambo one wants to ride this week. Then loads it up with the latest luxury at Saks, all the while laugh at the Americans who line up for an hour to get sachima.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr