Kam Hing Coffee Shop

Kam Hing Coffee Shop

This weekend I was in NYC for the Food Writers’ Workshop (more on the workshop later) and got to meet up with my friend, Michael, also a Korean adoptee and the current President of Also-Known-As, one of the longest-standing adult international adoptee organizations in the U.S. There was a choice between coffee at a nondescript coffee shop or coffee in Chinatown. Clearly this was a no brainer. So we met up in Chinatown at Kam Hing Coffee Shop.

After almost getting on the wrong subway line, I found my way to Kam Hing Coffee Shop. Known for its sponge cake, Kam Hing is a straight forward Chinese cafe. In other words, you order your sponge (and coffee!), you eat it, and you leave. No languorous loitering or faux-working on your laptop. During the hour or so that Michael and I were there, a steady stream of folks came in but none were there more than 15 minutes.

inside Kam Hing Coffee Shop in Chinatown NYCKam Hing’s sponge cakes come in multiple flavors – original, green tea, chocolate chip, and strawberry, as well as others depending on the season. Michael’s co-workers had suggested Kam Hing and given him the heads up that the original was the best. So, original it was. I ordered a regular coffee and four sponge cakes – two for now and two take home to my bf, who threatened to not pick me up from the train if I didn’t come back with some NYC deliciousness. And, no, he was not joking.

The sponge was simply divine. Light, fluffy, slightly sweet. I could have eaten all four. They were that delicious.

Over coffee and sponge cake, Michael and I caught up on my research, our participation in our respective adoptee organizations and upcoming adoptee conferences, and some of the challenges we experience and insights we have around race given our unique position as transnational transracial adoptees. Michael and I first met three years ago at Queens College’s Research Center for Korean Community’s annual conference. The topic that year focused on Korean adoptees, and we were among the dozen adult Korean adoptees who shared our adoption stories. For both of us, it was one of the first times we had so openly shared about our adoption histories and in front of a Korean American and Korean adoptee audience. The Queens College conference was a definitive turning point in my Korean adoptee community engagement, and I continue to cherish the friendships I made there.

After our coffee and sponge, Michael confessed that he wasn’t a sponge enthusiast! *gasp* Not because Kam Hing’s weren’t delicious but just because sponge wasn’t his thing. While he thought the sponge was good, he wasn’t sure if he would’ve known if it wasn’t good. Let me assure you – Kam Hing’s sponge cake was more than good. If you need to calibrate your sponge-ranking tastebuds, then visit Kam Hing and experience the best. Be sure to order double what you think you want. Trust me. You need more.


Kam Hing Coffee Shop
118 Baxter Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-0425