Gemma: Chiu Quon

The other weekend a few friends from Reed and I attended an alumni event in Chinatown. We ate dim sum and then wandered around through some stores afterwards. We came upon a bakery called Chiu Quon. The bakery was bustling with shouting customers trying to make their way to an employee behind the counter.

We were eventually helped by a sweet young woman who was patient with us as John and I made our selections. Of the handful of things we purchased, here is the first of the three we will highlight:

moon cakes

These tiny little cakes had gorgeous patterns imprinted on their dough encasings. Inside, the cakes were filled with a thick, golden jelly. They tasted pleasantly of sweet musk and jasmine, however the texture was so thick and overwhelming that they were difficult and ultimately unenjoyable to eat.

Second, we tried a coconut puff:

These delightful puffs shared many characteristics with the common danish. They were soft, glazed, sugary, and airy. The cocount flavor worked well and did not seem overly sweetened. The puff was not necessarily remarkable, but it did have a much subtler taste than a normal doughnut or danish might and was considerably less sweet, which I enjoyed. As such things go, I was impressed with this version.

Lastly, we tried a creme puff:

The creme puff was soft, airy, and golden. It was sprinkled with coconut shavings and stuffed with a light creme frosting. It was quite sugary and would have been impossible to eat entirely on my own, but sharing it with John and Molly for dessert worked well (we could have used a fourth person in the end). The creme puff was good, but also irremarkable. The coconut was a nice touch, but overall I would not order a second one.

Chiu Quon bakery is a nice, quaint, and popular destination in Chinatown. They do things well, but not spectacularly. The coconut puff was the standout of our selection due to the subtle flavors. I would not make a special trip to Chiu Quon, however If I were hungry for a sweet and in the area, I would duck in for a coconut puff.