Tradition or innovation? Luckily, you don’t have to choose at East Wind Snack Shop. After gorging on a slew of bao buns and pot stickers, I sat down with New York City native and seasoned restaurateur Chef Chris Cheung (pictured below), who filled me in on the ins and outs of his Windsor Terrace operation where he and his small team are focused on providing specialized, high quality Chinese cuisine.
Personal touches run throughout East Wind Snack Shop everywhere you turn, alluding to the drivers of inspiration for his dishes and success. Pictures of menu items, accolades, chalkboard specials, and Pocky sticks for sale give the restaurant a certain flair that spurs your curiosity. Ask about a picture on the wall and you’ll learn about the man who inspired the 28-day dry aged beef dumplings (below). Move to the bottle of E&J brandy perched above the kitchen and you’ll find out it doubles as a commemorative icon and a staple in the Saturday special – foie gras dumplings. Yum.
Each facet of the restaurant has a story. I specifically came to taste the Shanghai Sweet Pork Bao, a playful riff of the traditional char sui bao. This bao special is filled with house-ground pork flavored with garlic, five spice, ginger and honey and topped with sweet hoisin sauce and scallions. This delicious dish is a beautiful marriage of the Northern and Southern Chinese methods of compiling bao, syncing together to make East Wind Snack Shop’s iconic “damn good Chinese food.”
Pro tip: Chef Cheung reminisced about the classic Chinatown cafes on Mott Street where he used to snack on thoughtfully constructed shrimp dumplings. Memories like this fuel his desire to “constantly chase the perfect dumpling,” leading to the pan-fried Juicy Pork Dumplings. They’re the chef favorite and made from scratch every single day.
Finish off with dessert and enjoy the Hong Kong Hot Cakes (below), which were inspired by a Chinese woman on Mosco Street who had lines around the block for her specialty hot cakes despite being in a sea of street vendors. The light pancake-like batter laced with almond and lemon takes its unique shape when poured into a special pan. Enjoy!
BrklynHospitality’s Quick & Dirty: 4/5. Chef Cheung’s relentless pursuit of excellence and classic training shines through in his shop. It’s affordable and delicious. There’s talk of expanding East Wind Snack Shop down south to Nashville, TN. We’ll be first in line when it opens.
East Wind Snack Shop
471 16th St
Brooklyn, NY 11215