There’s the aroma of fresh-baked bread, and then, there’s the aroma of freshly-baked sweet, eggy bread, stuffed and topped with a myriad of Asian snacks. Think pork floss, curry chicken, sweet corn and cream, taro paste, durian paste, black sesame, and Chinese sausage. The smells are enough to make you at least drop in to peruse through at least 50 different flavors of pastries, baked buns, cakes and cookies. This is BreadTalk, a favorite snack spot of mine in Beijing (there are currently 12 locations throughout the city). Originally started in Singapore, the shop reminds me of all the delicious (and crowded) bakeries all throughout the streets of Hong Kong and Taipei, where fresh bread and buns keep rolling out of the ovens the whole day through.
BreadTalk is for the on-the-go crowd, the carb lovers, the ones who want a “trendy, lifestyle bakery” (according to their website). It’s for me and my mom, who go in and ogle the bread everytime we are in Beijing. I guess those plastic domes were made for us. We must look like two starved maniacs who’ve never tasted bread before!
So, you grab a plastic tray with a pair of tongs, and you just start piling on the bread. At the register, the cashier will individually wrap each bun in a plastic baggie for you. There’s even a low-fat yogurt drink machine that tempts you as you wait. Not to mention the array of fancy cakes that include flavors like chocolate-chestnut, strawberry-chantilly, matcha cream, “Tea Rose,” and a new line of Hello Kitty cakes! (I wonder what a Sanrio character would taste like…)
If you ever find yourself in Beijing or Singapore, try some of these snacks. The bread itself is delicately sweet, like a brioche dough, and the flavors are both fun and exotic. Prices are really affordable, as each piece will set you back between ¥5 – ¥8, which is roughly $0.80 to $1.15 dollars. The whole cakes range from ¥120 – ¥150 ($17 – $21).
These are just a few of the flavors I could document, before the angry baker caught me with my camera, and shut me down!