My list of irresistible snacks

By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly

The best advice I can give to keep your weight down is to treat yourself while eating small portions. I’m lucky to be in the International District, where there are many snacks offered at reasonable prices. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Chicken tail bun

Photo by George Liu/NWAW

According to Wikipedia, The “chicken-tail bun,” also known as a cocktail bun, was created in the 1950s in Hong Kong. Its name derives from a baker’s mixture of ingredients, which is similar to a bartender’s mixture of liquors, hence, “cocktail bun.”

Most folks that come to Chinatown look for the hum bow, but I go for the chicken tail bun.

What’s inside the bun?

Shredded coconut.

After the chicken tail bun is baked, the coconut softens and melts inside your mouth.

Working in Chinatown, I buy my chicken tail buns fresh out of the oven from Duk Li Chinese Restaurant on South Weller. At 60 cents each, I savor them during tea time with my employees every Wednesday on our newspaper’s production day. Believe it or not, with chicken tail bun in hand, we’re able to stay productive for many hours until the paper is done.

2. Temptations

Yes, that’s right, the name is, “Temptations.” It is a juicy fruit that’s between a cantaloupe and honey dew. Smaller than both fruits, this fruit embodies the best of the two melons.

Uwajimaya gave out samples last week. After one bite, I was hooked. At 39 cents a pound, I consume them during both my mid-morning and afternoon breaks. Temptations is also a fruit that goes well with a salad.

3. Black sweet rice pudding

Photo by George Liu/NWAW

When I feel sleepy during a summer afternoon, the best thing to wake me up is the black sweet rice pudding at Phnom Penh Noodle House. Few people are aware that this restaurant, which calls itself a noodle house, actually serves good desserts. The pudding is an ice cream cone surrounded with black sweet rice, jack fruit, and coconut. I cannot finish the whole dessert myself, so I usually share it with a friend or my husband. After that sweet treat, I can go back to work without complaints or fatigue.

4. Vietnamese sandwiches

Lam’s Vietnamese sandwich

When I am really hungry, I want a good piece of bread or a sandwich. At Lam’s Seafood, I venture into its deli department and order all kinds of sandwiches for my staff. Lam’s Vietnamese sandwiches have a great combination of sliced meats sandwiched with pickled cucumbers and carrots. Lam’s fresh French bread at 25 cents each is one of my favorite breakfast items. I use them to make garlic bread and my family just loves it.

Stay tuned for more of my favorite snacks in future blog entries. (end)

Assunta Ng can be reached at

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