August 9, 2012
大统华面包坊 – T&T Bakery, Richmond BC
火腿蛋包 (Ham & Egg Bun)
蓝莓贝果-大 (Jumbo Blueberry Bagel)
葱花肉松包 (Dried Pork & Green Onion Bun)
玉米火腿包 (Corn & Ham Bun)
肉松包 (Dried Pork Bun)
乳酪火腿包 (Ham & Cheddar Cheese Bun)
欧式小蓝莓包 (European Bun with Dried Blueberries)
欧式香橙面包 (European Orange Bun)
迷你台式菠萝面包 (Mini Taiwanese Polo Bun)
韩式红豆炸包 (Red Bean Donut)
韩式鲜奶油炸画卷 (Cream Twisted Donut)
Mom and I absolutely love these late night treasure hunts when we go to T&T Bakery and pick up a bag or two of the mix-and-match, prepackaged buns at discounted prices. When most of the seven buns in a bag happen to be one of our favourites or something we wanted to try, we would be delighted – and excited. Most days, we have a hard time deciding on just one bag so we end up getting a lot more than we went to buy. On this particular night, although not many bags were left, each had quite a few of what we wanted.
The 火腿蛋包 (Ham & Egg Bun) was just okay. It consisted of soft and chewy bread that was just moist and sticky enough for me to appreciate it. Inside were a layer of omelet and a slice of savoury ham, as well as mayonnaise. While the ham had decent flavour and was tender yet chewy, the egg omelet and mayonnaise were bland. The omelet could have been thicker to make the bubbly texture more distinct and the mayonnaise just did not have any tang or sweet flavours and was barely creamy. The quality of the bread saved this bun from being a complete disaster and at least the egg was decent.
The 蓝莓贝果-大 (Jumbo Blueberry Bagel) was actually just a normal-sized one. I think the name comes from the fact that they also sell mini bagels. It was chewy, dense, and yet not stale, just like the texture of a normal but good bagel. I enjoyed the sweet blueberries embedded in it, although I do wish the pieces were bigger with more in the bagel so that it provided a stronger, more distinctive blueberry aroma. This seems a bit sweeter, however, than a generic blueberry bagel. Perhaps that is the slight Asian twist, but it is totally fine by me.
The 葱花肉松包 (Dried Pork & Green Onion Bun) is by far one of my favourites of all the Asian buns. It is simple and inexpensive; there is nothing creative or extraordinary about it. However, I just love the sweet and savoury blend of green onions and dried pork that is made moist because of the onions. The two are perfectly paired, resulting in a soggy, salty, slightly sweetened blob on top of the bun. What I like about T&T Bakery’s version is that the layer of dried pork fluff and green onion mixture on top is very thick, making each bite of the bun very tasty. There is no shortage of ingredients, and the bread itself is slightly sweet, soft, and slightly moist. I would have preferred stickier and chewier bread, but this was not over-baked. Altogether, it was very tasty.
The 玉米火腿包 (Corn & Ham Bun) used to be better. The bread was moist and sticky, with a good chewiness and sweetness to it. However, the corn was not the juicy type; instead, it was sticky and hard to bite, with hardly any sweetness to it at all. The ham was nice and savoury but the pieces were scarce. The mayonnaise was also very bland except for some creaminess. This bun is supposed to be sweet with the bread and corn and slightly tangy with the mayonnaise; however, this version was certainly lacking in flavour.
The 肉松包 (Dried Pork Bun) was by far the most disappointing of the bunch. Considering how it is regularly priced at $1.39 and thus not the cheapest, I expected more than just the little bit of sweet butter-like sauce inside and on top with a thin layer of dried pork fluff. The bread was rather dry for this particular bun and not exactly sweet. I would have wanted more dried pork fluff and more of the buttery goodness of the sauce on top and inside. The idea was good but for the price, I expected the flavour to be fuller.
The 乳酪火腿包 (Ham & Cheddar Cheese Bun) was another one of my favourites. The bun was soft, moist, and chewy, but most importantly, it was sweeter than usual. I loved the sweet bread that tasted light and refreshing. It had a thin layer of melted and hardened cheese on top, sprinkled with parsley. Inside was a large, thick layer of cheddar cheese and ham pieces. The cheese was hardened but the texture was very chewy, like that of a good quality cheese. It was very orange in colour and also quite savoury and cheesy. The ham added to the saltiness. The cheese was certainly the highlight, though, and it did not taste like regular processed cheese. Perhaps it was not gourmet, but still, it was very good and chewy. With the pairing of the sweet bread and the cheese, it was another wonderfully delicious mix of sweet and savoury.
The 欧式小蓝莓包 (European Bun with Dried Blueberries) was a whole grain – or at least multigrain – bun with flour dusted on top, just like an artisan roll in a European bakery. Inside was plenty of plump but very sweet blueberries. They were chewy and moist, retaining some of the juiciness of the berries. Obviously, they were soaked in sugar and incredibly sweet, but I loved them exactly for that reason. It was like finding little jewels inside every bite. The bread was also the European type, chewy and soft but not as insubstantial as Chinese buns can sometimes get.
The 欧式香橙面包 (European Orange Bun) was similar, except with pieces of orange peel. They were not as bitter as I imagined, so the entire bun turned out better than I expected. However, I am still not convinced of the pairing with non-white bread with orange and nothing else. I would imagine another berry or fruit would be needed to offset the tangy bitterness. There were plenty of orange bits scattered throughout but the bun was still on the bland side.
The 迷你台式菠萝面包 (Mini Taiwanese Polo Bun) was also very disappointing. Three of these usually sell for $1.99, which is totally not worth it. The concept is simple: a sugary ‘pineapple’ coating that is not very sweet surrounds a soft and incredibly fluffy bun. These are less sweet and crumbly than the Hong Kong-style ones, seeming more like a covering layer rather than a crumble topping. I like my pineapple toppings to be sweeter and thicker so these were not my favourite to begin with. Cute as they are, the bread was incredibly dry, and seemed slightly stale. Okay, maybe not stale, but still, they did not taste fresh and were clearly left in the oven a tad too long.
The 韩式红豆炸包 (Red Bean Donut) was very oily; the oil was literally seeping out of the dough, which was completely soaked in it. I wonder how they actually fried this treat. Apart from the oiliness, the dough was soft, chewy, and stretchy, which made the texture very good. Inside was filled with a smooth and velvety red bean paste. It was sweet but still light rather than cloying. With a little less oil, this would have been a very good, though filling, dessert after any meal.
The 韩式鲜奶油炸画卷 (Cream Twisted Donut) was also quite oily, but it did have a layer of the cream coating. It looked crumbly but was moist from the oil. The donut itself, a Korean-styled one, was soft and chewy, pulling apart in strands. Although somewhat insubstantial since the dough puffs up quite a bit when deep-fried, the oil and cream makes it very filling. I also think that the cream coating can be made sweeter while still maintaining the creaminess.
Despite the many posts I have had on T&T Bakery’s small buns, there are still so many that I have not tried. It never ceases to amaze me just how much variety the little corner in this large Asian supermarket carries. The array of choices can sometimes be too overwhelming, which means these packaged, discounted bags are a great way to sample a bit of everything while not having a hard time deciding which ones to get.