I was in Chinatown yesterday at my favorite moon cake bakery. They're so famous they take an annual vacation and put up a sign: "CLOSED. On Vacation." No dates of departure and return, no "we're sorry we missed you" no "we'll be backs soon" just CLOSED. When you're the best, you can let people come back day after day after day to check and see if you're open again. And when you're that good, some suckers (I'm not saying who) will just keep coming back until you're open.
Strangely, I found myself back in Chinatown today. Non-plussed that the depressing and uninformative sign was still on the window of my favorite bakery I schlepped up the hill and around the corner for a steamy pork bun. "At least they'll be open" I grumbled to no one in particular. And as I pushed into line and looked up at the front window to see what was good today: lo. There they were. Unassuming, just hanging out like they were no big deal- blending in with their angelic golden halo between the sesame balls and baked pork turnovers: moon cakes. Stacks of them.
When it was my turn I called out "Yet go char xiu bao, yet go 'moon cake' m goi". (One pork bun, one moon cake please.) The whole store went kind of quiet, when I said that, that's my kind of fun.
Prices have gone up, too. They used to be 3.50 - 4.50, now they're 3.75 - 7.75 - Seven dollars and seventy five cents?! There better be 5 golden egg yolks in that one. Seriously. I took the cheapest one, when trying something new, I always say start with the basics. This holds true for ice cream shops too, I always try the vanilla (or strawberry if it's the season). I figure if they can get the basics right, I might try something more adventurous next time.
This afternoon I'm having Bi Luo Chun with my moon cake.
Stay tuned for more details about the September 10th Moon Harvest Festival Dinner where we'll be serving, you guessed it, moon cakes.