Location: 239 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002
When looking for some great breads, buns, pastries and cakes, Chinatown has no shortage of droolworthy Chinese bakeries. Almost every street has at least one, and the biggest bakery names in Chinatown include Tai Pan Bakery on Canal Street and Fay Dat Bakery on Mott Street. But today, we’re introducing a small bakery off the main road, past Little Italy, across Bowery and on Grand Street.
I’m always in search of good dumplings, buns and noodles. When my grandmother told me there was a place that did two of my favorites very well, I had to go try! There’s just something about dumplings and buns—they’re just bundles of joy that bring back memories of my childhood. I remember my grandmother would make fun guo dumplings from scratch for Chinese holidays, and she would teach me how to roll out the dough, how to fold and pleat the edges—mine were never as pretty as my grandmother’s though, haha! Dumplings were also an easy food to prepare for a meal or a snack after school too, and our favorite brand of dumplings growing up was 嘉嘉水餃. Steamed buns were also an easy to go food before school, because it’s basically a meal enveloped in a nice fluffy pocket. Buns and dumplings you say? What does that have to do with bakeries? While most bakeries in Chinatown offer the typical breads, pastries and cakes, Go Believe Bakery offers just a few more items like buns and dumplings that make it just a little more unique and variety than your run of the mill Chinese bakery.
Sandwiched between a restaurant and a fish market, Go Believe Bakery is a cross between a Chinese diner and bakery in one. They specialize in steamed buns, a variety of steamed rice crepe noodles (cheung fun), dim sum, baked chinese pastries and breads, as well as handmade frozen dumplings sold by the bag. It doesn’t immediately scream bakery from the outside because you’ll see loads of pictures featuring their cheung fun noodles and bags of steamed mantou buns.
Upon entering, you’ll have to squeeze through a crowd of locals to get to the fridge or the counter, depending on what you’re looking for. You can also dine in at their tables on their first and second floors. Mostly Chinese is spoken at this establishment, so if you don’t speak the language, be sure to speak slowly and loudly, and point to what you want. Language barriers can be tough, but great food in your tummy is the end goal here 😍
Head to the fridge for steamed buns and bags of different kinds of frozen dumplings, dim sum favorites like shu mai, ha gao (shrimp dumplings), wontons, fun guo (mixed vegetable dumpling with a tapioca/glutinous rice flour skin) and lots more to buy and cook at home.
The steamed buns are sold 6-8 in a box, which are perfect to microwave or steam in the morning at home for breakfast before jetting off to school or work. Popular bun types include:
- 五色素菜包 (Choy Bao) Five Veggie Bun – this is a healthy bun that has 5 different chopped vegetables inside and uses whole wheat flour for the fluffy bun skin instead of the usual white flour
- 大包 (Dai Bao) Big Bun – filled with Chinese sausage, pork, egg, chicken and mushroom.
- 菜肉包 (Choy Yuk Bao) Veggie Pork Bun
- 腸仔包 (Cheung Zai Bao) Chinese Sausage Bun
- 叉燒包 (Cha Siu Bao) Chinese BBQ Roast Pork Bun
- 南瓜包 (Pumpkin Bao)
- 奶油包 (Nai Yau Bao) – Filled with a sweet, creamy egg custard, this bun is great for breakfast or with afternoon tea
I had to snap a photo of grandma looking at all the choices in the fridge—her face was so full of wonder, lol! She whacked me shortly after the photo was taken to tell me to hurry up and pick what I wanted to buy, haha. Yes, grandma…
The dumplings have lots of different fillings, but we love the bok choy and pork filling as well as the chive and pork filling best. My grandmother also enjoys their fun guo steamed minced pork 粉果 dumplings as well!
Head towards the counter for dim sum, baked breads, pastries, cookies and cakes, or to order food from their hot menu, which includes the deliciously smooth and silky cheung fun which are made to order fresh from the steamer.
Chinese bakeries tend to run the gamut of all things sweet and savory—try a custard bun, red bean bun, coconut bread or pumpkin pastry, or enjoy a fried chicken cutlet sandwich or Chinese BBQ pork bun, or a pineapple bun with cookie crust topping (so good with milk tea, by the way.)
With nearly every item costing less than $5, it’s a great value for a fresh and delicious breakfast. We usually like to order cheung fun or dim sum to go, and it’s always a treat to watch the chef prepare the silky noodles.
They first put down the filling on a flat sheet pan, then pour a thin layer of rice flour slurry on top before sliding it into the steamer for a few minutes. By the time he is done preparing the next pan to slide in, the first pan is done steaming and is ready to serve! He then cuts it with the paddle, folds it onto itself and scoops it into the takeout boxes with little cups of sweet soy sauce.
We love the fresh and steamy cheung fun here—in addition to the usual cheung fun fillings like shrimp and beef that you might find at dim sum restaurants, Go Believe Bakery also has options like chicken and egg, dried shrimp and pickled turnips, fish paste, pork ribs, corn, curry fish balls and more. For hot food, they also have an assortment of congee, noodle soups, and pan fried dumplings and glutinous flour dumplings in soup.
Go Believe Bakery is definitely a yummy and affordable pitstop in Chinatown that is a must try for anyone wanting a delicious and authentic Chinese food experience. Pick up some items to bring home to eat too, you won’t regret it 😀 🥟
Until next time,