A popular game in San Francisco, though not quite up to Pokemon GO levels, centers upon whether Golden Gate Bakery is open. According to Yelp, this Chinatown bakery’s daily hours are 8am to 8pm. HA! In actuality, the bakery is open according to the whims of the women that run it. On some days they open early in the morning, others not until 3pm, and sometimes they are just closed. It’s become such a sport that there is a website “Is the Golden Gate Bakery open today?” and its twitter and Facebook page – though none of them are updated daily. If you’re thinking about visiting, best to give the bakery a call just to check.
If you walk down Grant Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown and don’t encounter a long line of people waiting, it can only mean one thing – Golden Gate Bakery is closed. When Golden Gate Bakery is open, the line is usually 50 people deep, clogging the sidewalk. The first time I saw the line, I thought there must be a free giveaway for such a long queue to form. Instead, it’s the honor of being able to buy their famous egg custard tarts that entices people to wait in line.
Although their claim to fame is the egg custard tart, Golden Gate Bakery also has other items like the coconut tart, mooncakes (seasonal) and sesame balls (which the girls in back of me were planning to purchase, in addition to the egg custard tarts), displayed in the windows.
Once you finally make it inside, you’ll see shelves inside with boxes and whatnot stacked haphazardly with a sign warning against photos or filming inside the bakery. A few Chinese women work behind the counter, taking orders. They don’t have much patience so best be prepared.
I settled for buying an egg custard tart and the coconut tart. The coconut one was like eating coconut macaroon baked inside a flaky pastry shell.
Golden Gate Bakery does so much volume on the egg custard tarts that new batches are constantly being baked. When you get your order, the tarts are still hot, with the not-too-sweet egg custard being held by the flaky, crisp tart shell. If you’re used to getting the tart off dim sum carts after they’ve been sitting out for a while, these tarts are quite a different experience.
Is it worth waiting in line for the tarts? Only if you like egg custard tarts (if you don’t know, I would suggest trying one at another bakery first to spare yourself the wait). If not, you will be rolling your eyes at having wasted your time. Otherwise, the pleasure of having timed your visit to when the bakery is open, coupled with the triumphant feeling of having waited in line and completing your purchase, tastes almost as good as the egg custard tart.
Location – 1029 Grant Ave., San Francisco, 94133
Website – http://goldengatebakery.com – Their website is terrible and has third party ads all over it.
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegan/Gluten-Free Options –Probably not.