Friday, September 4, 2009

Hong Xuong Bakery

The mealy coconut tart that I sampled from Hong Xuong Bakery was just as forgettable as the nondescript facade.

As I walked back to the El after bánh mì, I was in the mood for something sweet. I passed Hong Xuong and decided to give it a shot. I liked its hole-in-the-wall appearance because somewhere in my head, I associated it with authenticity.

The place was empty save for a group of older Asian women chatting behind the register. They didn't acknowledge me until I opened my mouth to say "excuse me" to get their attention. I ordered a one-dollar coconut tart. A buck - incredible! It was such a great deal, it had to be worth it. Right? No-sir-ee.

The presentation was cute - I mean it had a tiny, shiny aluminum pie-dish - but, as we learn time and time again, you cannot judge a book by its cover. That hoary adage could honestly not have been truer in this instance. I took a bite and was blown away by how the strange flavor drowned my taste buds and left a funky aftertaste.

The coconut was definitely present, albeit artificial, but the entire tart was dry and stale, including the bland crust. I'm not really sure what went right with this tart, yet I am certain that it would've benefited from additional moisture and being served within hours rather than days (or weeks) of its creation.

Hong Xuong is certainly super affordable, but there's a reason for that. The disappointing tart does not motivate me to return. Looking back, I wish I had chosen a different bakery to sample in the famed Argyle area. Back or Forth? I will be going forth.

Hong Xuong Bakery - Uptown/Edgewater - (773)878-2888 - 1139 W. Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640 - Public transportation: the Argyle stop on the Red Line or buses 22, 36, 81, and 92.

Coconut tart - $1

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