Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Hollywood Bakery's Chicken a la King and Killer Pineapple Buns

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM

New Hollywood Bakery's pineapple bun: Eat when warm. - ANDREW NILSEN
  • Andrew Nilsen
  • New Hollywood Bakery's pineapple bun: Eat when warm.

Rice Plate Journal is a yearlong project to canvas Chinatown, block by block, discovering the good, the bad, and the hopelessly mediocre. Maximum entrée price: $10.

I've been back to New Hollywood Bakery a couple of times since discovering its baked pineapple buns -- there's no pineapple in them, for those of you who don't know, but instead a crumbly golden crust of flour, egg, sugar, and butter or lard laid overtop a soft, white yeasted bun. (Some bakers crosshatch the top so the bun comes out of the oven looking like the skin of a pineapple.) The Hong Kong pastry is ubiquitous in San Francisco, but it's a rare bakery that produces a pineapple bun that's as good -- not too dense, not too squishy -- at room temperature as it is warm.

New Hollywood Bakery. - WILLIAM B./YELP

But it took sitting next to the pastry case for an hour, lunching on a rice plate along with the other 70-year-olds who fill the tables from morning until late afternoon, before I clocked the number of people hauling out big pink boxes with baked pineapple buns, pork buns, and foot-long scallion twists.

The 70-year-olds and I were drinking weak tea, spreading prepackaged pats of butter on our warm dinner rolls, and slowly eroding away the banks of rice that shored up pools of Hong Kong-style braises and stir-fries on the restaurant's list of $5 rice plate. It's a baked-pork-chop kind of menu, but having eaten far too much baked pork chop over the past four months, I ordered the Portuguese chicken instead.

In Hong Kong, Portuguese chicken is braised with milk and coconut milk, then covered in grated coconut and broiled, but here it was stir-fried with red bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions, a little milk and curry powder tossed in at the end to form a pale yellow cream sauce. Take out the curry powder and substitute canned mushrooms for fresh, and the dish could have doubled as my mother's chicken a la king, which she ladled over a nest of La Choy fried noodles. A Portuguese-Cantonese fusion dish rejiggered to resemble an Orientalized American classic: pretty much the culinary equivalent of Disney World's "It's a Small World After All" ride.

New Hollywood Bakery: 652 Pacific (at Columbus), 397-9919.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Jonathan Kauffman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"