San Francisco is a great town for bakers, bakeries, and lovers of both. Over the past 10 years, the Bay Area has become an essential stop for anyone looking to explore the world of yeast, flour, salt, and sugar. We have empires like Tartine, new arrivals like Breadbelly, and co-operative institutions like Arizmendi Bakery and Mission Pie. We’ve got instagram phenomenons like the Craftsman and Wolves’ Rebel Within, and we have the bakeries that are completely our own — like 20th Century Café, with its legendary Russian honey cake, or Jane the Bakery and its gorgeous loaves baked fresh daily. With so many delicious treats to choose from, sometimes it can be hard to come back down to earth and appreciate something as simple as a fortune cookie, but one of the oldest and best bakeries in the city might just remind you how.
On the intersection of Grant Avenue and Commercial Street, Eastern Bakery opened in 1924 and has since become the oldest bakery in Chinatown. The cluttered shop has grown in popularity over the years — and it’s rightly proud of its longevity. Above a picture of Bill Clinton visiting in the 1990s is a small piece of paper that reads, “We Were Here Before the Great Depression, the Bay Bridges, World War II, ETC…”
They sell egg custards, pork and pineapple buns, sesame balls and every Chinese confection between. But it’s the chocolate-covered fortune cookies that I can’t walk past without grabbing a bag of.
Dipped in milk chocolate, this classic cookie is a twist on America’s most widely beloved takeout dessert. The creamy coating cracks like a Cadbury Creme Egg, blending beautifully with the crispy wafer. An incredibly simple modification to an even simpler cookie, it’s the perfect party favor or addition to a dessert spread. It’s something that I’ve never tasted or seen before, but they’re adorable and tasty, just one more example of why Eastern Bakery will always be special.
Eastern Bakery, 720 Grant Ave., 415-433-7973 or easternbakery.com