Chinese Bun Battle Heats Up
Being able to drop a buck-twenty on lunch is a debt-encrusted student's wet dream. So it's really nice when said lunch is actually something you would have eaten anyway. Enter the Chinese pastery shops.
When I discovered Yung Sing Pastery Shop, I thought I had hit the jackpot. It had history, it was family owned, cheap as hell, and most important to me, busy. Reviews from the likes of Joanne Kates (and now me) line the wall and date back decades. Life was good.
Then I discovered the trashier Furama Cake & Desserts Garden, right on Spadina. If Yung Sing was the authentic greasy spoon of the Chinese bun world, this was it's McDonalds. Buns with ham, chedder and mayo were McTastic compared to the more traditional offerings from Yung Sing. This was my pick only when I was in the area though, as the $.20 difference in price was clearly not worth the drop in quality. But there's a new contender in the love-(and sometimes meat)-filled Chinese bun game in Toronto: Dong Dong Pastries and Cafe.
I would have never thought that the $.90 buns at Furuma would ever seem expensive, or even the $1.10 ones from Yung Sing, but after eating a few of the delicious $.60 buns from Dong Dong, I'm considering that I might have been getting ripped off for the past few years.
I don't actually think this of course. I still go past Yung Sing for their pastries. The style of bun feels less like fast food and they have a wide variety of savory and sweet deep fried goodies, unique to them.
I do notice, however, that I havn't been past Furama lately. Dong Dong and Furama both offer much the same style buns, and at very different prices. It might not sound like much to think that they are only 30 cents more expensive, but if you think that they are 1.5 times more expensive, then it seems a little steeper (kinda). Also, Dong Dong is much closer to U of T, and that plays a huge factor in me going past it so often.
They also have better buns. Fresh ones are always being shipped from the kitchen and they beat Furama hands down in a couple key areas, namely Curried Beef and BBQ Pork (Yung Sing has better of both though).
So if you have an hour to kill and a stomach to fill (groan), then do "The Bun Tour". Start at Yung Sing on Baldwin and grab a bun to go. Walk towards Spadina and turn south. Bam! You're at Dong Dong. Grab another bun and cross at the lights (safety first). South a few blocks you can find Furama to finish off the meal. And all that walking means you've earned yourself another bun!
Yung Sing Pastry Shop
22 Baldwin Street
Furama Cake & Desserts Garden
248-250 Spadina Ave.
Dong Dong Pastries & Cafe
319 Spadina Ave
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