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Where to find Youtiao and other baked Chinese favorites

The other cruller

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When The Chinese Dynasty, in Matthews, closed in January, I immediately missed its Saturday dim sum trolley filled with Chinese delicacies, including congee (juk), a rice porridge that has become increasingly popular with gluten-intolerant hot cereal fans. Fortunately, Grand Asia Market (4400 Potters Road, Stallings, 704-821-0899) houses a stunning first-rate Chinese bakery; a steamed bun and congee station; and The Joy Luck Club, a buffet-style restaurant. Since this is inside a grocery store, service is strictly counter.

On the weekends, the roster of delicacies increases to include ci fan tuan, which is sweet, glutinous rice wrapped around youtiao, a fried bread stick. Although not sweet, youtiao has the appeal of crullers and churros. Youtiao is available as well and is typically eaten with congee or soy milk. On weekends, fresh soy milk is made here. Also available on the weekends is house-made tofu pudding, douhua, served either sweet, with a sugary ginger syrup; or savory, mixed with a concentrated soup mix and topped with cilantro, sliced scallions and Chinese pickles.

One chef is responsible for the freshly made, pristine steamed buns, and the buns — especially the Cantonese barbecue pork — are the best in town. All baked goods, both sweet and savory, have clearly defined ingredient labels. The egg custard tarts are brought out still warm and vanish quickly. Weekend specialty items are available all day Saturday and Sunday. Some are also available all day Friday.

Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: tricia.childress@creativeloafing.com.

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