Where can you find the absolute best darn egg tarts in the Bay Area?
Egg Tarts from Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco
Custard pies are a favorite of mine. I also love mini custard pies, originating from Hong Kong, called egg tarts. You will often see them in Chinese bakeries and dim sum houses.
Growing up in Hawaii, we would go to dim sum restaurants every so often for breakfast. One of the things I would look forward to were the egg custard tarts for dessert. I was always excited when the dessert cart rolled by, and I begged my mom to pick out a plate. When we'd get to the end of the meal, I took my egg tart and devoured it in two seconds flat.
Fast forward a few years, and I discovered that Ruby's Bakery on Hotel Street in Honolulu's Chinatown made some pretty good egg tarts. I introduced the shop to Annie, and we'd stop in every so often whenever we were shopping for groceries in Chinatown.
Then we moved up to the Bay Area. We were walking along Grant Avenue on our first foray into San Francisco's Chinatown when we happened upon a long line of people waiting in front of this bakery. Annie asked someone why they were standing in line.
"Dan tat," they replied. "Egg tarts."
Magic words! We got in line.
Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco
After waiting an inordinate amount of time, we finally gained access to the store and placed our order. But they had just run out of egg tarts and were waiting for the next batch to come out of the ovens. It seemed like everyone else was getting egg tarts too, as no one was moving. We picked out some of their other baked goodies while we waited. Then the new batch of egg tarts came out, steaming hot.
"How many do you want?"
(I don't exactly remember, but since it was only the two of us, I think we only got 4 or 6 egg tarts. BIG MISTAKE.)
Egg Tarts From Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco
The smell was so heavenly! Sugary sweet, with a hint of vanilla, plus the aroma of freshly baked pie crust. We couldn't help ourselves. We untied the ribbon holding the box shut and ate the egg tarts hot out of the box.
Oh. My. God.
The egg tart was baked until just firm on top (not dried out or scorched). The custard was silky-smooth, with the perfect balance of sweetness. The tart's puff pastry crust was amazingly flaky, and crumbled easily to our bite.
Before we knew it, it was gone.
We didn't want to be pigs, so we took the remaining egg tarts back to the car. However, they didn't survive the trip back to San Jose. We had decided to keep them in a "safe" place - our tummies!
Egg Tart from Golden Gate Bakery, San Francisco
Now, whenever we make it up to San Francisco, we always make it a point to stop in at Golden Gate Bakery for egg tarts. When people find out we're going, they place an order with us. No more small, half-dozen size orders. We usually come home with at least 3 dozen!
The egg tarts from Golden Gate Bakery are not cheap. I think the last time we were there, we paid $1.15 each. But trust me, they're worth it! In my opinion, there is no egg tart in the Bay Area better than Golden Gate Bakery's egg tarts.
Tips on Getting Golden Gate Bakery Egg Tarts
I don't know about you, but nowadays we never go into San Francisco's Chinatown (the Grant Avenue one, not the Clement Street one) unless we've got a function there. I hate having to find parking around there. The only reason we go is for Golden Gate Bakery's egg tarts. So I usually drop Annie off in front of the store and go circling around. If the line is short, I make small circles. If it's long (like it usually is on weekends at midday), I make larger circles, or find some side street to park and wait for Annie's call. Sometimes the wait can be 45 minutes long!
One more thing we have to warn you about is that Golden Gate Bakery is so successful at selling egg tarts and other pastries, they can afford to shut down the store for a month at a time, usually (but not always) around Chinese New Year. I remember one time we stopped by after a long period of missing Golden Gate Bakery egg tarts, and we found they were closed. I was like, "NOOOOO! Why, God, why?!" (so dramatic, yah?) We ended up going to Eastern Bakery, but their egg tarts are nowhere near as good.
Do you have a favorite place to get egg tarts? Leave us a comment and tell us where!