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Chinese Bakeries


chocomoo
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One of my favourite Chinese bakeries at the moment is Mega Bakery (美之香餅家 for those of you who can read Chinese) in Richmond. The cocktail buns here are giant, with more filling & less bun, which I like. I can't get enough of that sugary, buttery, coconut filling. Yeah, sure, it's probably got like 600 calories, but who cares, it's not like I eat these every day :wink: . I hate how when I bite into the normal coconut buns, it takes 2 bites until I hit the filling, & by that time the bun's half gone.... :hmmm:

It's a Taiwanese bakery, so I guess some of the offerings are different from the Hong Kong bakeries like Maxim's and Anna's. Mega is located at Continental Centre on Cambie, in between the grocery store & Vogue. The storefront is quite small, but there are so many different kinds of buns & other bakery-related things there. Pork fluff (can someone explain this better than me please?) buns, buns with soy sauce-marinated eggs sandwiched in the middle, and "pork patty" buns (the patty has green onions in it, yummy!) are just a sample of the savoury filling buns. Oh and just for Ling (who I seem to recall had something similar at Hapa Izakaya), one of their new products is a Chinese bun folded over with braised pork belly & pickled vegetables (I had it for breakfast at work & the fatty part in the pork belly melted in my mouth, it was so good. There were crushed peanuts in it though, kinda a weird addition).

They also have taro swirly buns, assorted "Swiss rolls" :wub: (moist, & the buttercream isn't a centimetre thick...an added bonus is that they don't have the artificial "fruit" flavoured ones like strawberry or melon, ewww! :blink: I always get scared by the green & pink Swiss rolls at Maxim's & the Boss). They also have these bags of broken pieces of assorted flavours of Swiss roll that they bake until slightly crispy (? it's not actually hard though) which are in the sale section from time to time. And of course they have pineapple cakes, those tiny squares of pineapple (or whatever fruit)-filled shortbread yumminess. By the way, their Western-style desserts in the display case aren't that special, it's not worth it getting them there.

And right now, because it's Midautumn Festival time, they're selling Taiwanese style mooncakes! For more on mooncakes, click here. They also have "ice skin" ("bing pei") mooncakes in their display case, with flavours like oolong tea (I think it's a new flavour? It's really flavourful in any case), green tea, kumquat, mango, & black sesame.

p.s. Yes, I realize that I sound like I'm doing an ad for them, but I just really love this place! :wub: We go at least once a week :biggrin: Oh I almost forgot!! Their original location is (or was?) on West 41st, near Dunbar in Vancouver.

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Oh and just for Ling (who I seem to recall had something similar at Hapa Izakaya), one of their new products is a Chinese bun folded over with braised pork belly & pickled vegetables (I had it for breakfast at work & the fatty part in the pork belly melted in my mouth, it was so good.  There were crushed peanuts in it though, kinda a weird addition). 

Woohoo! I'm so there! Will report back as soon as I get off work. :wink:

Cocktail buns are one of my favourite Chinese pastry buns! I haven't had them recently, but I remember my favourites came from Keefer Bakery in Chinatown. Lots of buttery filling, and it was a bit saltier than the filling from other bakeries. too. (And Keefer also has my favourite Chinese bun--dao sa yong--a deep fried, sugar-coated, red bean paste filled lovely ball of greasy doughy goodness.)

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Thanks for the heads up. My mom has been dumping Pine House's bakery on us (which is quite good) but it would be nice to try a different bakery.

Anything with red bean or black bean paste is my weakness. I was told by a co-worker to wait till after the harvest moon festival and most mooncakes will sell for half price. They last almost a long as fruit cakes, so, why not?

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I am going to throw my hat in the ring for Michelle's in Kerrisdale. As per Mooshmouses blog - their portoguese style egg tarts are outstanding with a flaky all butter crust.

There other breads are very good too - that super soft fluffy asian style bread. I like there bbq pork buns also... I think that I will be out shopping for Chinese baking...

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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Canucklehead and PaoPao have been championing Michele's for quite some time; after accompanying Canucklehead there last week for my first visit, I'm now a believer.

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Their Portuguese egg tarts are the bakery equivalent of crack for me... with all that butter in them, they're just as lethal. :wink:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Wicked, wicked woman! feeding me egg tarts!!!

I second (third?) the votes for Michele's.

I usually get my bun fix at T&T downtown: do they bake their own? I had a delicious red bean paste bun earlier this week. Oh, and why are the mooncakes so spendy? they looked tasty, but especially hearing that they will be half-price soon, I will wait to get them.

Moosh, where did you get those yummy coconut buns we had that time? and why, oh why are you always feeding me addictive, high-calories sweets? :hmmm:

:wink:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Moosh, where did you get those yummy coconut buns we had that time? and why, oh why are you always feeding me addictive, high-calories sweets? :hmmm:

Because I need a companion to do penance along with me in calorie-laden baked-goods purgatory! :raz:

The cocktail buns that you tried were from Pine House which, as maxmillan said upthread, also do a damn fine job with their cakes, breads and pastries. Saves me a weekly trip to Kerrisdale, although I find myself making the drive out there that frequently as of late. :rolleyes:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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We go to New Town on Keefer

Have to say that New Town has the best Char Siu Bao and Dai Bao - especially good when they are freshly steamed and you eat them up the moment you step outside the shop! However, I've never tried the sweet buns there.

As for sweet buns, my favourites are Cocktail Buns and Coconut Cream Buns. Looks like I may have to head out to Michele's to check them out...

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oh i just remembered this bakery on Kingsway (near Fraser) street that has really good pineapple buns and a unique ham and egg bun, delish :biggrin:

but i cannot remember the name coz its really long...

and this Michelle's place in Kerrisdale I am so there today to stock up for my breaks at work...so close to me but I have not heard of them *crawls out of rock*

Edited by foodiluvm (log)
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One of my favourite Chinese bakeries at the moment is Mega Bakery (美之香餅家 for those of you who can read Chinese) in Richmond.  The cocktail buns here are giant, with more filling & less bun, which I like.  I can't get enough of that sugary, buttery, coconut filling.  Yeah, sure, it's probably got like 600 calories, but who cares, it's not like I eat these every day  :wink: .  I hate how when I bite into the normal coconut buns, it takes 2 bites until I hit the filling, & by that time the bun's half gone....  :hmmm:

Oooooh! You are so evil! I can't get cocktail buns in Japan...or if I can, I haven't found them, yet! Doesn't anyone want to have a cocktail bun demo/cook-off/whatever they're called? I need a good cocktail bun recipe (googling has turned up nothing).

They also have taro swirly buns, assorted "Swiss rolls"  :wub:  (moist, & the buttercream isn't a centimetre thick...an added bonus is that they don't have the artificial "fruit" flavoured ones like strawberry or melon, ewww!  :blink:  I always get scared by the green & pink Swiss rolls at Maxim's & the Boss). 

Are they better than the non-fruit Boss Swiss Rolls? There's a Chinese grocery store in Winnipeg that brings in Boss roll cakes. We only get the coffee flavoured one, and I think it's divine!

I think I'm going to have to make a trip to Vancouver sometime soon. Or maybe Hong Kong...it's closer!

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I'm not too impressed by Pine House. Lots of bready dough in their cocktail buns, and the filling is kind of mediocre. I like the filling to be quite salty and buttery-tasting, and the coconut texture to be quite fine.

Don't know which Pine House you've been going to, but I still say that the one down the street from our house does a damn fine job.

Besides, I figure that taste is directly proportionate to the dollar value of the food item and the distance travelled to obtain such food item. Factoring those two variables into the cocktail bun equation equals a fine tasting cocktail bun from our neighbourhood Pine House! :wink:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Don't know which Pine House you've been going to, but I still say that the one down the street from our house does a damn fine job.

Besides, I figure that taste is directly proportionate to the dollar value of the food item and the distance travelled to obtain such food item.  Factoring those two variables into the cocktail bun equation equals a fine tasting cocktail bun from our neighbourhood Pine House!  :wink:

My parents get the pastries from the Richmond location. The cocktail buns always look very pale...I prefer a dark crust like the ones from Keefer. The Portuguese tart from Michele's looks really good...I'm liking the browned edges. :smile:

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Don't know which Pine House you've been going to, but I still say that the one down the street from our house does a damn fine job.

Besides, I figure that taste is directly proportionate to the dollar value of the food item and the distance travelled to obtain such food item.  Factoring those two variables into the cocktail bun equation equals a fine tasting cocktail bun from our neighbourhood Pine House!  :wink:

My parents get the pastries from the Richmond location. The cocktail buns always look very pale...I prefer a dark crust like the ones from Keefer. The Portuguese tart from Michele's looks really good...I'm liking the browned edges. :smile:

Knowing you, Lorna, I suggest you get yourself minimum 6 of those tarts, or 12 if you're hungry.

SOOOOooooo good! :biggrin:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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The only good egg tart is in Lisbon, everywhere in Vancouver are just a pale Macau inspired derivitive. There was a Portugese bakery in Oakridge next to the Safeway that had good egg tarts. It's a HMV now. There's also an acceptable version at a Portugese bakery on Rupert at about 20th?

(edited, because after 35 years in Vanouver, I still mix up Rupert and Renfrew. Yeah, okay I'm stupid. Rupert=Kerr and Renfrew=PNE. If was was ever going to get a tatoo, thats what I'd get on my arm. Might as well be useful.)

Edited by Keith Talent (log)
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Don't know which Pine House you've been going to, but I still say that the one down the street from our house does a damn fine job.

Besides, I figure that taste is directly proportionate to the dollar value of the food item and the distance travelled to obtain such food item.  Factoring those two variables into the cocktail bun equation equals a fine tasting cocktail bun from our neighbourhood Pine House!   :wink:

My parents get the pastries from the Richmond location. The cocktail buns always look very pale...I prefer a dark crust like the ones from Keefer.

I agree with Ling, I don't like the Pine House ones as much either. I find that Pine House's buns tend to dry out quite quickly. I like the darker crust too!! Mega's brown crust is calling out to you... I should mention that they don't always have them though - they sell out pretty fast :sad: They're like twice the size of Pine House ones.

Speaking of egg tarts, we really rediscovered Maxim's egg tarts - nice & flaky, & there's some special on them on the weekends (3 for the price of 2, or something?) @ the Richmond Centre location - a lot of people buy them so they often come out freshly baked :wub: . Anna's has really good egg tarts as well - the tart is really buttery, almost like shortbread, & crumbly, not flaky. I like both the crumbly kind of tart & the flaky kind though, I guess it depends on my mood. Anna's walnut napoleons are also reeeeally good - not the coffee or Swiss kinds, the one with the layers of light flaky pastry, walnut crisp, & cream :wub: Don't buy more than you can eat in one day though, cuz the pastry gets soggy really quickly. OHHHH one more thing about Anna's: they use Philippine mangoes in their mango mousse cake :wub: It's not as pretty as Michele's mango cakes, but you can really taste the difference.

About mango cakes - we used to get ours from King's Bakery ("Golden Lion" in Cantonese) on No. 3 Road, near Cambie - less expensive than Michele's & I liked the mousse to cake ratio better (more mousse, less cake). It's the same King's Bakery that used to be in Hong Kong, but the owners retired maybe a year ago, so it's under new ownership and it's not good anymore :sad: We bought cake from there once after the new owners took over, and the cake was kinda misshapen and the mangoes not layered right... That's what happens when you don't listen to the pros :angry: Plus the cake wasn't very moist, like it was day-old. We used to get these little coffee raisin rolls (like dinner rolls) there, & they were so packed with coffee flavour...and those paper-wrapped sponge cakes, MAN, they were so moist....

We don't venture to the east side too often as we live so close to Richmond, but I do like this place called King Wah on 41st & Victoria. They have this loaf that I swear is like brioche (sooo buttery, and what's the word? I can only think of the Cantonese word for it, "soong") - they don't call it brioche though. They probably call it Danish loaf or something similar, cuz it's got this braid pattern on the top (don't ask me why that means it's Danish).

Can you tell I like butter?

By the way, I think T&T does make their own pastries, but I think the ones at Yaohan are the freshest. Every night they put various leftover buns in bags & sell them for a really cheap price - poor girls, they always get swarmed! :laugh:

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Happy Date (in the complex across from Richmond Center) also has good egg tarts. Their almond cookies are pretty "meh" though...

Hey, those walnut napoleons are my favourite treat from Anna's! :smile: However, I'm not a fan of those Chinese-style mousse cakes. They are too light for my tastes...it's like eating air. But I think Anna does the best job with them.

(Give me a big wedge of something dark, chocolate-y and rich anyday. :wink:)

Edited by Ling (log)
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They also have taro swirly buns, assorted "Swiss rolls"  :wub:  (moist, & the buttercream isn't a centimetre thick...an added bonus is that they don't have the artificial "fruit" flavoured ones like strawberry or melon, ewww!  :blink:  I always get scared by the green & pink Swiss rolls at Maxim's & the Boss). 

Are they better than the non-fruit Boss Swiss Rolls? There's a Chinese grocery store in Winnipeg that brings in Boss roll cakes. We only get the coffee flavoured one, and I think it's divine!

I think I'm going to have to make a trip to Vancouver sometime soon. Or maybe Hong Kong...it's closer!

Yep, they're even better than the Boss Swiss rolls! They're not too sweet, either. Flavours include red bean, marble (chocolate & regular), green tea, coffee, and "regular". The regular one is really good - the egg flavour really comes through.

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have to agree with what was said above about new town bakery. they have the most amazing steamed buns, with the 'dai bao' and the spicy pork bun being my favorites from there. i took pao pao and yummy there a little while ago and they were suitably impressed heh.

a great place for chinese bakery items is st. germaine bakery, i think they have a few locations but the one i go to is in metrotown. very good butter buns and also their egg tarts are very creamy with a buttery crust. the best portuguese egg tart i've had was at first avenue bakery... they're so popular that usually u have to order them ahead of time. fresh out of the oven they're like a little taste of heaven.

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I just got back from Michele's. I got a bag of Portuguese cream tarts and ate them all on the drive back. Those things are really small! Good tarts though--thick, creamy custard, nice puff pastry. It didn't taste like an all butter pastry to me, but I wasn't really expecting that anyway. Kind of expensive ($1.10), considering their small size. I think I'll stick with making my own...that way, I can eat a whole tray of them without breaking the bank. :laugh:

This is the recipe I use, btw: Cream tarts

If you prefer the puff pastry base like the ones from Michele's, just use a cookie cutter to cut the frozen puff pastry into circles, and line them in your muffin tin.

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I just got back from Michele's. I got a bag of Portuguese cream tarts and ate them all on the drive back. Those things are really small! Good tarts though--thick, creamy custard, nice puff pastry. It didn't taste like an all butter pastry to me...

I called and asked if the pastry was all-butter and they said yes (jeez - I hope so, I've got co-workers who only eat halal food - do not want to be the one that accidently feeds them lard...) :shock:

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^No, it's not lard. I guess it could be butter, but when I think of butter puff pastry, I think of the really rich, fragrant butter--like the pastry with the pumpkin tarte tartin at Aurora. One bite of that dessert and you knew it was butter. I was thinking they used the frozen stuff that's made with hydrogenated vegetable shortening or something.

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      Anyway, what I have just taken delivery of is this Korean blood and glutinous rice sausage from Yanbian. I am an inveterate blood sausage fiend and always eager to try new examples from as many places as possible. I'll cook some tomorrow morning for breakfast and report back.
       

       

    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
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