Monday, March 16, 2009

Stock of "Pineapple" Bun is Up Up Up!

A delicious "Pineapple" Bun (rough translation from Chinese 菠蘿包 "bo lo bau") is now as much as $1.00 in NY!!! Boo! I remember when you can get one for around $0.70 two years ago.

Price aside, these buns are Chinese breads with a sweet crunchy topping of sugar and egg. Despite its name, there's no pineapple involved. What attracted me to these when I was younger was their topping - if done right, they may fall off in little sheets when you bite into was fun to just pick them up and enjoy these little sweet treats.

Pineapple Buns are popular breakfast items, and also good for a satisfying afternoon snack. Like many things, these are best when they're just out of the oven so you can enjoy the warm, soft and airy inside. Most likely in the early morning you can get it fresh.

There are many varieties of Pineapple Buns other than the original (plain) ones. There are ones filled with red bean paste, butter or coconut. There were different ones I saw in Hong Kong - these Japanese style of the Pineapple Bun called "Hokkaido Bun." I had even gotten their green tea variety too! The design on the green tea one below is more representative of the appearance of a pineapple (hence its name).

You can't get the green tea variety in the U.S., but if you'd like to try one, I would suggest the original version (my fav).

I've tried them all in Chinatown - Fay Da Bakery, Tai Pan, Golden Carriage, and Manna House Bakery.

  • Fay Da's Pineapple Buns are too sweet, don't have the golden brown color that they should have, and their topping ain't right - it's too crumbly. Plus, they bake the buns along with other buns, so you don't get the pure taste of the pineapple bun itself...I've tasted scallions or onions on occasions.

  • Golden Carriage's are forgettable. I thought because their Egg Custard Tarts are good, their Pineapple Bun may not be all that bad. I'll just stick to their Egg Custard Tarts.

  • Tai Pan and Manna House Bakery are the ones to try, although I do prefer the latter over the former. Their Pineapple Buns have the golden brown color, which adds a lot of character and taste to the bun, and their topping is just right. The reason I prefer Manna House's Pineapple Buns more is because Tai Pan's topping is a tad too thick. There are more than a handful of locations between these two bakeries, so don't settle for the inferior ones!

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