6, J, M, N, Q, R, W, Z at Canal St.
This sweet spot offers more than just baked goods, but it's the inventive cookies, cakes, breads, and pastries that draw the crowds. Decorated with neon, glass and stainless steel tables and chairs, the clean, airy space is as oddly soothing as the bandana-sporting young counter women are efficiently cheerful. Treats such as the butter-filled coconut bun and angel-food-like banana cake are lightly sweetened and delectable. For heartier appetites there are fried beef, chicken, and pork rolls (resembling baked dim sum) and the more exotic tuna fish bun or curry beef pie. The snacks go down easy with a bubble tea, one of the ridiculously sweet fruit juice concoctions, or the red bean with tapioca pearl drink, which is practically a meal in itself. Tai Pan also bakes dozens of colorful decorative cakes to order, and caters, too.