Recreating a Lost Memory – Hong Kong Egg Cakes from New York’s Chinatown

I’ve been reminiscing about a part of my childhood in New York’s Chinatown where I attended Chinese school every weekend. After class, mom or dad would walk me over to Mosco Street where in a tiny red corner stall, labored Cecilia Tam (aka the Egg Cake Lady) to buy a bag or two of her legendary egg puffs (aka eggettes) or “gai daan jai” in Catonese.

Closing my eyes as I type this, I could almost imagine and taste those little airy puffs of heaven in my mouth. These were one of the very few sweets I enjoyed as a kid and I had a special way of eating them. I would first bite off the crunchy perimeter of each puff and then pop the soft rounds into my mouth. They were perfect in every way – not too sweet, so light, so fluffy, and so worth every penny. Cecilia could have asked for my first-born back then and I would have obliged.

For the last few years, I have considered sourcing one of those egg cake molds to attempt a recipe at home. Then, as if my prayers were answered, Williams-Sonoma came out with their own version and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.

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