3 Sep 2017
Breads, cakes and pastries are baked and eaten all over the world. Every region has its own favourites. And with travel getting easier and people getting more and more eager to discover new textures and flavours, local specialties are gaining popularity. This might explain the rise of East Asian bakeries.
People all over the world are continuously on the lookout for new flavours. They want to be surprised. Asia offers a lot of unknown, exotic ingredients and flavours. They’re processed in baked goods, but also in desserts. Some have become quite common, like pandan, black sesame, salted egg yolk and lychee. Other Asian ingredients have recently become more popular, like matcha green tea, taro root, yuzu citrus, the purple sweet potato ube and the nutty adzuki red bean. Of course there are Asian ingredients quite unknown in the Western world, like Sudachi, Sakura or Durian. Critics dismiss these ingredients as too exotic, but foodies are more than happy to discover this whole new world of flavours, textures and experiences.
Eastern or western?
East Asian bakeries can be found in almost every Chinatown in the world. In Asia, they are not seen as Asian bakeries, however, they’re referred to as Western bakeries. Influenced by the British who once colonised Hong Kong, Western bread specialties marched into Asia. The offer was altered to please the Asian palate: light and not too sweet. Sugar was decreased, butter reduced, crisp baguettes turned into soft buns and rich cakes and pastries were lightened. Western classics turned into – often more healthy − Asian variants.
Most East Asian bakeries offer a variety of sweet and savoury baked or steamed bread buns, with varied fillings and toppings. When it comes to pastries, you’ll find decorated sponge cakes, egg tarts, beautiful layer cakes, pineapple buns (without pineapple) and probably coconut buns, tuna buns, moon cakes, fried sesame balls, almond cookies and many other surprising treats.
Are you looking for ways to expand your product range? Maybe you can find inspiration by visiting some East Asian bakeries. There are extensive lists of inspiring Asian bakeries in Manhattan, in Los Angeles and in the Netherlands. But you will find them in nearly every Chinatown in the world. Be sure to visit them in the morning for best results: buns, egg custard tarts and sponge cakes are at their best when served warm.
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