Mom had some extra time on her hands while I had class, so she did me a favour and scoured out the Asian bakery scene in Philadelphia’s small Chinatown. According to her, KC Pastries Inc. was the best one she found because of their reasonable pricing and focus on the freshly baked buns instead of selling a bit of everything.
The 鸡尾包 (Cocktail Bun) was actually not too bad. The dough was soft, chewy, sticky, and slightly sweetened. However, it was not as dense as I would have liked and a little more moisture would have been nice. I enjoyed the custard lines on top, as they were very mushy. The coconut filling inside was quite sweet but had a weird colour, somewhat like a taupe or a funny lilac, instead of a yellow as I am used to. The filling did not seem very fresh, and the sesame seeds on top seemed a little out of place.
The 花生酱卷 (Peanut Butter Bun) was probably the most boring of the bunch. It was just a bland peanut butter rolled into bread dough. It was soft and fluffy, but I could not taste the peanut butter very clearly. It was kind of dry and crumbly, and there could have been much more in the roll. However, despite the light flavour, I liked the deviation from the regular peanut butter taste.
The 榨菜肉丝包 (Szechuen Pork Bun) did not taste much like pork. The meat was ground so finely it was more like a pate with the Chinese pickled vegetables. It was quite a savoury filling inside the soft and chewy bread. The texture was dense yet soft and mushy, which was fine by me. The colour was again somewhat off, making me question the freshness of the bun.
The 沙爹牛肉包 (Satay Beef Bun) was also soft, sticky, and chewy, although there was not too much bread as the shell was quite thin. The filling of ground beef in satay sauce with onions and other spices and ingredients had a slight kick to it, something that is hard to come by with Asian breads. I liked the spice quite a lot. The strong flavour contrasted the slight sweetness of the dough quite nicely.
Finally, the 椰丝菠萝包 (Coconut Pineapple Bun) just could not compare with the ones at home. The pineapple crust topping was crumbly but slightly over-baked. It was falling apart really quickly, and did not taste very rich and complex, just a simple sugary sweetness. I prefer a thicker topping as well. The bun was again nice and soft as well as chewy, sticky, and the like. The coconut filling inside was okay. There was plenty of shredded coconut so the texture was mostly that. It was sweet with the custard-like coconut filling and I wished there was more filling. Despite all the coconut inside, it was still slightly greasy. They probably should have cut back on the oil as well.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the quality of the dough. None of them tasted as fresh as the ones at T&T Bakery back home, but they were definitely more than acceptable. I think with a much lower demand, you cannot expect extremely fresh, always day-old items. While KC Pastries Inc. certainly cannot compete with the many bakeries back home, it will do the trick when I am craving Asian bread buns.