New Kam Hing Coffee Shop Review: Chinese sponge cake at Kam Hing

New Kam Hing Coffee Shop Review: Chinese sponge cake at Kam Hing

In the complex and always-changing New York food scene, it’s nice to visit an old-school hole-in-the-wall. We all cheer for the Bulters and VCUs of the world, and Kam Hing Coffee Shop is an underdog anyone could get behind. Sure, doughnuts are all the rage, and special Chinese lollipops are nice, but it’s cool to eat something that’s not a fad. Perhaps nothing implies consistency and quality as much as a food establishment that’s been around longer than dirt. Judging by Kam Hing Coffee Shop’s sign, I venture to guess that it’s been around maybe even longer than I’ve been alive. Once you look pass the worn down exterior and enter the store, you encounter a Chinese sponge cake that never gets old.

Inside Kam Hing’s, you get access to these great sponge cakes. Reading a comment on Serious Eats revealed that for a short period, the sponge cakes were in a cone form, but now they’re back to their original boat form. It’s a good thing because the top of the Chinese sponge cake gets browned and is slightly more addictive than the soft innards, which are good too. The version at Kam Hing Coffee Shop is a smidgeon sweeter than other sponge cakes you might find in Chinatown. This is a good thing because otherwise you would be distracted by the egginess of the cake, instead of the cakyness. Yup. Two real words in one sentence. I can quit now.

The rest of this post is not going to be about sponge cake. I’ve been really good about not inserting too much random commentary into this blog, but quite honestly I get bored. Yesterday on the No Reservations blog, Anthony Bourdain penned a much talked about piece about the James Beard Awards. He calls it a “self congratulatory goat rodeo” and despite the “multi-cultural theme,” he “seriously doubt you will see an increase in the number of Mexicans present. Or any other of the nationalities who comprise the backbone, heart, lungs, blood and muscle of the hospitality industry this organization claims to celebrate.” I love that Bourdain is sticking it to the man. I just wonder about the deeper implications of the issues he wants to raise, but do no answer.

For example, if an organization celebrating food and restaurants is supposed to help its own people, then what are we actually talking about here? Is it workers rights? Immigration? Health insurance? No one is naive enough to believe all of the workers in a kitchen are documented. So does that mean that Bourdain wants to see the Beard foundation find ways to help illegal immigrant workers? What the hell is an illegal immigrant anyway? Sure it’s a legality but a governing entity makes rules usually for a reason. Like, buckle your seat belt or you’re likely to fucking die in a car accident. And is that what notables chefs like Mario Batali should do? Voice their opinions on how the restaurant industry should chime in on illegal immigration? And how many restaurant workers get health insurance? Is that what the Beard Foundation should do? Find ways to help restaurant workers get health insurance? Or is that more the responsibility of restaurant owners? Do all of Bourdain’s chef friends offer their employees health insurance? I like the step that Bourdain took in calling out the James Beard Foundation, but maybe he can take it even one step further.

New Kam Hing Coffee Shop119 Baxter St.New York, NY 10013212-925-0425

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