Aside from supermarket treats, another stalwart Chinatown tradition from my youth were trips to Chinese bakeries. For just a few dollars, a box of sweet or savoury pastries could be mixed and matched to your heart’s content.
They have fruit cakes too!
While the giant T & T Supermarket (#2580, 8882 170 Street) in West Edmonton Mall makes it convenient by individually wrapping buns, I have to admit my favourite bakery in the city is Garden Bakery (10019 106 Avenue) because of their self-serve set-up. With a tray in one hand and a pair of small tongs in the other, there’s nothing like having to fight the urge to stack just one more filled pastry on top of your already bursting portion.
A few of my family’s picks:
Chopstick Doughnuts, deep fried until they’re crispy on the outside but still soft and chewy on the inside, are great served with congee.
Mini Pork Dumplings, also deep fried, are best eaten on the same day they’re purchased. Felicia’s favourite, they’re also a popular item served at dim sum.
Sesame Red Bean Balls are death, if not only because I can never seem to stop after eating one. The creamy, sweet red bean paste in the centre is complimented by the savoury crispness of the exterior.
Amanda’s favourite Swiss Rolls are individually packaged to preserve the fresh sponge cake separating layers of light cream. The cake is also sold in larger rolls.
Mini Cocktail Buns are my Dad’s favourite because of their smooth coconut filling.
Mini Cream Buns, filled with a rich, illustrious pastry cream then dusted with coconut, are always a showstopper.
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns, shown here in a cooler and ready to be heated, are a dim sum favourite of mine. But should you not have time to sit down for a meal, are available at the bakery to grab-and-go.
Last but certainly not least – Egg Tarts. The creamy custard is worth a trip to the bakery alone.
Given that my office is just a few minutes away from the bakery, it’ll be too tempting not to just pop in now and then for an immediately satisfying treat.