C is for China: Chinese Canton Bakery

Welcome to Where in the World Can We Eat in San Diego! Each month, we’ll be trying food from a different country or place, going in alphabetical order by the beginning letter.

Before we move onto the letter D, let’s do one more for letter C! C is for China, and I visited Chinese Canton Bakery in National City.

Chinese Canton Bakery

Chinese Canton Bakery is right next to Royal Mandarin in National City. If you ever want to be the most popular person at a potluck, you could get a box of baked bao from Chinese Canton Bakery and a tray of wings from Royal Mandarin.

What we ordered:

Nothing brings such a feeling of hope and joy like the sight of a pink pastry box.
The steamed chicken bun is $1.65 each. For bao, you have a choice between baked or steamed, and pork or chicken filling.
Curried beef pie is $1.75 each. It has a very flaky crust!
Cream cheese rolls — 3-pack for $3.00.
And the star: the baked bao. At dim sum, I usually shrug over baked bao and go for the steamed, but these are so excellent. They are giant, fluffy, pillowy-soft goodness — the savory-sweet barbecue filling! The sticky top! And for $1.50 each, they are a steal.

Notes:

  • Ooh, everything was still warm when they handed me the box.
  • I realize that this spot has been an enduring staple in the community for 35+ years (and for good reason) … but as a non-native San Diegan, I’m way late to discover the classics everyone’s been eating since childhood. Chinese Canton Bakery’s baked bao was included in a goodie bag at an event I attended two months ago, and I was like, “FROM WHENCE DOES THIS HEAVENLY THING ORIGINATE?? I MUST KNOW.”
  • They are limited to Saturdays and Sundays from 10-4. They do have some stock for walk-up, but it’s a good idea to order and pay ahead on their website.

What we would order next time:

A giant box of baked char siu bao. This is not to say that the other items aren’t good; it’s just that the baked pork bun is SUCH a standout.

Restaurant information:

Address: 1132 E Plaza Boulevard Ste 204, National City, California 91950
Phone number: 619-474-7358
E-mail: bunz@chinesecantonbakery.com 
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Large shared lot
Available vegetarian options: Coconut bread, cream cheese rolls, cakes

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