When bubble-tea chain Quickly installed a fancy-dancy “delimanjoo” (a custard-filled Korean interpretation of a Chinese cake) machine outside its Chinatown store last week, we worried about the fate of the griddle man who normally does business on the block. Turns out he can rest easy — yesterday afternoon, as many as a dozen loyalists at a time lined up for the griddle man while half as many customers in line for Quickly’s machine voiced exasperation for what turned out to be, in our case, a 40-minute wait.
The machine’s operators, for all of their efforts with scrapers, tongs, and even a paintbrush, were having trouble extracting the cream puffs from their high-tech pods without tearing them open, recalling the conveyor-belt scene from I Love Lucy. Actually, over the course of 40 minutes, a lot of things came to mind — and we’d be lying if we said the cream cakes (which taste faintly of cornmeal and don’t deliver nearly as much of a custard hit as a Beard Papa puff) were worth the wait. If you want to see the machine in action without blowing an hour, check out this video from the now-shuttered Deli Manjoo.