Asian Bakery Checklist

I love a good bakery.  It’s one of my favorite places to explore when traveling to a new country—sweet and savory carbs always hit the spot.  Living in San Francisco spoiled me since the Chinatown bakeries serve warm, fresh, inexpensive buns all day long.  I could walk 10 minutes from my apartment and eat to my heart’s content for a few dollars (those were the days).  If you’re ever wondering what to try, here is a round up for my favorite treats. 


  • Pineapple Buns (Bolo Bao)- sweet bread with a crunchy sweet crust. Some have filling and some do not. Don’t be fooled by their name – pineapple buns—they don’t taste like pineapple.  The buns get their name from the crunchy crust topping just resembles the skin of a pineapple. 
  • Dan Tat- egg custard tart
  • Pork Sung Bun- sweet bread topped with dried shredded pork
  • Coconut Cream Bun- sweet bread split down the middle and filled with cream and sprinkled with dried coconut
  • Coconut Bun- coconut filled sweet bread, sometimes called a cocktail bun
  • Baked BBQ Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao)- baked buns filled with sweet bbq pork
  • Sponge Cake- fluffy, spongey and eggy cakes that aren’t too sweet, usually they come wrapped in paper
  • Swiss Rolls- light, spongey, slightly sweet cake that is rolled and filled with cream. Can come in many different flavors
  • Sesame Balls- deep fried sticky rice balls filled with red bean, lotus or sweet black bean.
  • Custard Buns- usually decorated with a little swirl on top, these sweet buns are filled with custard


  • Mantou- Steamed Bread
  • Hua Juan – Twisty steamed bread with green onions
  • Hot Dog Buns- a meal on the go! Similar to pigs in a blanket or a kolache but much larger and can sometimes come with toppings such as cheese, green onions or corn. 
  • Curry Puffs- fluffy puff pastry filled with a curried beef
  • You Tiao- deep fried dough, not sweet so don’t be fooled when people refer to these as donuts
  • Zong zi- sticky rice with different fillings wrapped in a bamboo leaf
  • Green Onion Bread- sweet bread topped with green onions, sometimes comes filled with shredded pork

hong kong asian bakery, too many delicious choices

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