While waiting for our order at the little restaurant inside H-Mart, with the bakery sitting right beside it, Mom and I just had to get some more Korean baked goodies. It was just after 6 p.m. so the items were just beginning to get marked down. Thus, there was still quite a large selection and we just could not resist trying a few more of the breads we have yet to sample. We decided on three, and since they were all $1, the ones that were originally more expensive were certainly more popular. Luckily, we were there early and they were still available, so without hesitation, we snatched a few to bring home for the next morning.
I really liked the Soboru (pineapple bun) from last time, so I was specifically looking forward to the Red Bean Soboru. This is not the one with the red bean paste and candied orange peels and raising swirled into the dough. Instead, it is a Korean pineapple bun filled with a large chunk – and I mean incredibly large as there was barely any bread and mostly filling – of red bean paste. I do not know why they named both buns the Red Bean Soboru. Just another translation problem, I suppose. This red bean pineapple bun is absolutely delicious. The sugary crust topping was sticky and crumbly at the same time, with a light hint of peanut butter. That made it less sugary and plain, giving it a richness. The bread was not as moist as some of their other buns, but still soft and fluffy. Only a thin layer enrobed the sweet red bean paste in the centre. This version of the red bean paste is smooth and quite creamy in texture, not overly sweet, but definitely sweet enough to be incredibly scrumptious! At $1.80, this was quite the deal. Add the crust to the filling and voila, I got myself one of the best breakfast buns ever!
Next, we picked up the Cream Cheese Bread, originally priced at $2, which means it was half price. It was some kind of a soft, incredibly moist and chewy whole grain dough around a layer of cream cheese. Mixed into the bun was a handful of chopped walnuts, with half a walnut in the centre of the bun. It was not the most pleasant colour, but the walnut did make it look more appealing. The concept was neat, but it was not favourite. The cream cheese was creamy and had great texture when mixed with the bread dough, but the taste was on the bland side. The walnuts gave it a nutty taste, but apart from that, there was not much to give the bun much flavour. It would have been nice to have a stronger taste to the cream cheese, but at least it was rich and slightly gooey. There was a decent amount of cream cheese and walnuts inside, so they certainly did not skimp on the ingredients. However, for $2, I would not buy this bun again.
Finally, I picked up a Custard Cream Bread as I was craving sweet custard cream. This bread was more of a mix between bread and sponge cake. The taste was that of bread and thus not sweet. The texture, especially on the bottom, was light and fluffy, with lots of air bubbles like that in an egg white sponge cake. It was not exactly a bun, but rather plenty of filling folded in between the dough, sort of like a pita. The custard cream had a lot of moisture, which made the bread even softer. It was nice and creamy, very sweet and therefore, perfect for my palate. It was only slightly grainy in texture and was, overall, a very good custard cream. The dough was surprisingly quite oily, as it left a layer of oil on my fingers. It did not taste overly greasy, though, which made it all the more shocking. This was the cheapest of the bunch at only $1.35, which I think is a tad bit expensive compared to places like T&T Bakery. However, with the discount, I would definitely get this when I am craving a little custard cream.
I find in general these Korean buns are so much more moist and soft than the Taiwanese and Hong Kong-style buns at many of the other bakeries around town. Personally, I love moist, under-baked bread so it is perfect for me. The stickiness of the dough is really what I am looking for in my moist bread. With a good filling, many of the breads I have sampled from H-Mart are on the top of my all-time favourites list. Their buns are just of very high quality. I also like that they discount their buns at 6 p.m., which is quite early and thus easy for me to get. No one wants to come out at 9 p.m. just to get some buns for the next day. In all honesty, I do not care if they are even day-old, as they stay fresh for a couple of days and I am not going to be eating it until the next morning anyways.