Our neighbour gave us a box of Chinese pastries from Kam Do Bakery on Saturday. I was planning on going to the bakery to take a look at what they offer. What she brought is probably not what I would have gotten for myself. I do not like the layered pastry shell as it has too much of a greasy taste and is too dry for my liking. Instead, I would have gotten individual cake slices and some buns. However, it is always nice to have the option of trying something you usually would not, as is the case when your neighbour makes that decision for you.
Either my expectations have risen drastically over the past few years or their 老婆饼 (Wife Cake) has become a lot worse than it used to be. I remember loving the sweet, sticky filling. However, the filling in the one I had yesterday was bland. The winter melon and the starch base they put in it was hardly sweet. There was also not a lot there. The pastry remained the same, multilayered and tasting of the fat that is used to bake it.
It was very crumbly and flaky, which is good if you like pastry shells. Personally, I do not, so I eat this mainly for the filling. Unfortunately, this time, it was rather disappointing. The texture was okay but the taste was just not up to par. They are supposed to make the best wife cakes around. Now, though, it seems as if we are just going to have to find a replacement.
Next is the 皮蛋酥 (Lotus Seed w/ Egg). The pastry shell is again flaky and well done. It was also very thin, which was good since there was a lot of filling. The half of the preserved century egg in the middle added a nice savoury taste to the sweet lotus paste. Surprisingly, neither was particularly strong in flavour.
The lotus was on the blander side rather than sweet. I love a sweet lotus paste with a smooth, velvety texture.This one was not particularly ‘sticky’ nor was it very sweet. A bit more sugar would have been nice. There was also not a lot of lotus flavour. I get that lotus seeds are expensive and potatoes are cheaper, but the flavour needs to be there.
The third pastry, the 蛋黄绿豆酥 (Green Bean w/ Salted Egg), had the same pastry shell. This one was round in shape as opposed to the oval shape of the Lotus Seed w/ Egg pastry. The salted egg yolk in the middle again gave the pastry the savoury flavour. However, since there was only half, the flavour was not distinct. The paste filling I could not identify until I saw the label. It was quite bland, only slightly sweetened. The texture was almost a little crumbly and it was definitely not the smooth, ‘sticky’ texture of a good Chinese paste filling. Again, the pastry seemed bland overall. It was delicately made but the cut back of key ingredients drastically brought down the quality.
Finally, the 芋头酥 (Taro Paste) was my favourite of the four. I did not care for the pastry shell. However, the purple colour did appeal to me a bit more.
Also, with less (I think!) of the fat they used for the pastry shell layers, it tasted better to me. I do not like flaky layers of greasiness so this was slightly better. At least it looked less greasy. The shell was also very thin, allowing for a huge centre filled with taro paste. The paste clearly contained potatoes for the volume and it was again, slightly bland. I could taste the artificial taro flavouring, similar to those used in taro milk bubble tea powder. This makes me wonder whether there is any taro in the filling at all. At least since I like the artificial taro flavour quite enough, it tasted decent.
Overall, I am not pleased with Kam Do Bakery’s pastries after trying out the above. They seem to be cutting back on costs by decreasing the amount of key flavouring agents in their fillings. The pastry crusts may be well done, but the insides were definitely lacking flavour. They looked exquisite, especially the , but the tastes certainly did not reflect that.