I’m so excited to celebrate the Lunary New Year this year! As a homeschool mom, one of my favorite ways to teach my kids about customs and traditions around the world is through food. When we learned about ancient Rome, we baked an ancient bread recipe. When we talked about the shoguns of Japan, we drank tea. And with Lunar New Year coming up on February 12, we’re planning to celebrate the Year of the Ox with a plate of spring rolls, dumplings, and of course, some sweets.
Especially because we’ll take all the excuses to celebrate as we can, these days. You too?
Since I’m not sure I’m up for tackling some of the more complicated dishes myself, I can definitely order in from the experts. So I researched some of the best Chinese bakeries around the country, should you want some authentic Chinese New Year treats for your family too.
(Note that the Lunar New Year is most closely aligned with Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, though it’s celebrated in lots of Asian countries. However in the US, we tend to associate it with Chinese New Year celebrations and traditions, since the Chinatown neighborhoods of American cities are such strong anchors in the community.)
As far as these bakeries, aware that these are all local bakeries that are hugely popular with the Chinese communities near them — but they don’t necessarily offer massive nationwide delivery options, with one exception.
If you live in any of these major cities, make the effort to swing by and pick up some sweets for your family for your own at-home celebration. You won’t regret it.
Fay Da Bakery: New York City
Fay Da Bakery is one of the most iconic Chinese bakeries in New York City, which has grown from their original Chinatown location to include a few more shops around the city. Reviewers swear by their absolute consistency: it’s good every time you go.
Fay Da Bakery offers everything from opera cakes to chocolate mousse, but for the new year we’d recommend ordering their popular sesame balls filled with red-bean paste. They represent wealth and good fortune for the new year and I’d like some of that, please.
If you’re in New York City, you can get them delivered locally through DoorDash or FreshGoGo.
Chiu Quon Bakery: Chicago
Every item on the extensive Chiu Quon Bakery menu is handmade from scratch, and as the oldest bakery in Chinatown, it’s highly recommended on food tasting tours of Chicago. I’d be ordering up some moon cakes or egg tarts for my family if I were in the area, although their steamed buns look incredible too. You’ll have plenty to choose from here for celebrating the start of the Lunar New Year, that’s for sure.
They have two Chicago locations, in Chinatown and Uptown.
Kee Wah Bakery: Los Angeles
Kee Wah Bakery was founded more than 80 years ago in Hong Kong, but in the 80s, so many Chinese immigrants in LA missed it so much that they opened a location here. Kee Wah is best known for their bridal cakes and moon cakes, but the fresh egg tarts are some of their most popular items too.
This is the one authentic Chinese bakery that will deliver nationwide for Lunar New Year, and they have an entire section of their website dedicated to Chinese New Year treats so you can browse your favorites — or try out some new ones.
Order same-day delivery or takeout from any of their 4 LA locations, or visit KeeWah.us to order select items for nationwide shipping
Image: @tengounplanbeatriz on Instagram
Kamalan Bakery: Houston
Kamalan Bakery in Houston is famous for their ice-cream filled, fish-shaped waffles called taiyaki, but they have so much more deliciousness to offer, including donuts, puddings, cookies, and cakes. For the Lunar New Year, I’d recommend loading up on their bean-curd buns seen above, or try their custard buns, and let your kids can try something uniquely Cantonese.
Houston locals, be sure to visit their one location! It’s the real deal.
Photo by @mclimfood on Instagram
Good Mong Kok Bakery: San Francisco
I really enjoyed reading through the Yelp reviews of Good Mong Kok Bakery in San Francisco. So many customers rave about taking their parents and grandparents there for authentic baked Chinese dim sum and treats, like this spread beautifully captured by mclimfood on Instagram. Apparently their lo po bang (wife cakes) are better than any other in San Francisco, and you might want to get there early to avoid lines — or the bakery running out of food completely, or closing early when they sell out. How’s that for a recommendation?
Good Mong Kok is so authentically local they don’t even have a website, just a Facebook page. Totally worth the trip to Chinatown.
Photo by @breakfastsandwichzest on Instagram.
Heung Fa Chun Sweet House: Philadelphia
Philly Mag called Heung Fa Chun Sweet House “the place to go for homesick Chinese families,” but I’m glad those of us who might be exploring Chinese baked treats for the Lunar New Year are welcome too. I found so many people excited about their soft tofu with different toppings, from stewed peanuts to fermented shrimp or red beans and more. For your family celebration, I’d grab some of their baked treats and bao buns, like the ones in this photo from breakfastsandwichzest. Hello Kitty not included.
Heung Fa Chun Sweet House is a block from the convention center in Philly. Wear a mask and stock up!