Chinatown’s oldest existing bakery (established in 1986) is arguably also its most well-loved. Many of Chiu Quon’s fans peg the bakery’s popularity to its barbecue pork buns, or cha siu bao—and given the buns’ golden-glazed, beautifully soft exteriors and the salty-sweet balance of their chopped pork filling, we won’t disagree.
For many Chicagoans, the notion of dining in Chinatown conjures up burnished ducks and dim sum feasts. Far less likely to spring to mind are bakeries, yet this compact neighborhood boasts around a dozen of them, most which turn out a mixture of sweet and savory Chinese goodies and Western desserts adapted to the more mildly sweet-toothed Chinese palate. Chinatown's bakeries make a great option for a grab-and-go lunch or a coffee break treat that's cheap as chips; what's more, many of them ooze an old-school ambiance that's been scrubbed from some of the area's newer restaurants. Here are seven of our favorite Chinatown bakeries, along with suggestions for what to try at each.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Chinatown