New Town Bakery: Best Steamed Buns in Chinatown
148 East Pender Street, Vancouver, Chinatown
On the edge of Chinatown is one of my all-time favourite bakeries. I’ve been going there since I was a little kid. The pineapple bun was the first Chinese pastry I’ve ever eaten.
Before you ask, no, there are no actual pineapples in a pineapple bun. The bun is named for its appearance. The bumpy, sugary top looks like the outside of a pineapple. It has been compared to the Japanese pastry, melopan, which looks similar and also does not contain any fruit. The pineapple buns at New Town Bakery are delectable! Slightly crunchy and sweet on top and soft and fluffy in the middle. There is a place in Richmond called Lido that makes pineapple buns fresh and serves them warm with a square of butter in the middle. I haven’t tried it but other bloggers tell me that it’s to die for.
My other vice at New Town Bakery are the egg tarts. They taste incredible when they’re fresh, with a warm, creamy custard egg filling and buttery, flaky crusts. I’m still convinced that New Town Bakery makes the best egg tarts in town, and I love that they’re nice and big. The egg tarts found at dim sum and other Chinese bakeries are just so tiny these days!
A visit to New Town is not complete without picking up some steamed buns, which is pretty much their signature item! They’re steamed right before your eyes (kind of seems like Bonchaz stole their concept, huh?). There are savoury buns as well as sweet. With my serious sweet tooth, I always pick the steamed custard buns. These fluffy buns are filled with golden rich and creamy custard. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Occasionally, I like to buy a bunch of these steamed buns and stick ‘em in the freezer. They make great breakfast food, just heat ‘em up in the microwave while you’re making your coffee.
A pastry that I grew up eating is now pretty hard to find in Chinese bakeries: the deep fried donut covered in sugar. This is literally a deep fried ball of dough covered entirely in sugar. It’s too delicious to even describe, you will just have to taste it for yourself!
The best part is the inside of the donut. Underneath that crispy, sugary outer shell is an airy, velvety, soft, dreamlike web of eggy pastry. It sort of has the same texture as a French Cruller donut.
A fan favourite at New Town Bakery are their amazing apple tarts. These little round, flaky pastries are filled with sweet baked apple. It’s just as simple as that but they taste incredible, the sticky, gooey apple filling contrasting with the light, crispy crust. It’s impossible to eat this little tart without getting your mouth and fingers sticky. It’s worth it!