Tai Baan Bakery, Eastwood

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There’s a high con­cen­tra­tion of Korean and Chinese baker­ies just a short walk from Eastwood sta­tion. One par­tic­u­lar bakery that’s been around the longest — almost my entire life — is Tai Baan Bakery tucked away in an arcade off Rowe Street. Not hav­ing found my go-to Chinese bakery in Emperor’s Garden Cake & Bakery in Chinatown I headed back to the sub­urbs to see if Tai Baan Bakery would hit the spot.

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First off, of course, is the Red Bean Sesame Ball ($1.10).

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This one had a crunchy skin with a chewy dough and a lump of red bean paste huddled into a corner, so pretty stand­ard. Overall, the red bean paste was a touch too sweet, and the skin, while crunchy, was way too oily, which tends to hap­pen when food isn’t fried in suf­fi­ciently hot oil.

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This Black Sesame Bun ($1.70) is some­thing dif­fer­ent to this bakery, with rib­bons of black ses­ame through­out the bun and white ses­ame sprinkled on top.

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The black ses­ame was mixed with glu­tin­ous rice flour giv­ing it a super soft elasti­city (think mochi in a gooey form). The bun itself was pil­lowy soft as well and cre­ated a great mass of soft­ness without much tex­ture. A stiffer bun or a stronger black ses­ame fla­vour — I like it to be very strong — would’ve gone a long way to giv­ing some con­trast­ing tex­ture and flavour.

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This is the Pineapple Bun with Red Bean Filling ($1.90).

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The ‘pine­apple’ crust was crispy while the red bean filling here was per­fectly sweetened unlike the red bean ses­ame ball. It’s a pretty stand­ard bun, although I’d prefer a thick­er crust.

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And to fin­ish off the sweet buns, I try the Cocktail Bun ($1.20), a staple of any Chinese bakery.

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The egg and coconut filling in this cock­tail bun was pleas­antly but­tery (mmm!) and a tad too sweet, although the bun to filling ratio was decent, so that the sweet­ness mel­lowed (to an extent, as Asian bread are sweet).

A couple of weeks later, I headed back for a quick lunch fix with the savoury options –

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This is the Mushroom and Chicken Bun ($1.80).

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This is a firm favour­ite with vis­ible pieces of chick­en and mush­room in a well seasoned creamy sauce. I’d like more filling the bun, though, and still prefer Bread Top’s ver­sion with the flaky pastry on top.

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And finally, a Sausage Bun ($1.80), anoth­er staple. This one was very dry, unlike the ones at Bread Top that have the added tomato sauce and may­on­naise on top.

Tai Baan Bakery offers a good vari­ety of baked goods — all the staples of a Chinese bakery are there — of good qual­ity, although not so much their fried goods, which make up a very small part of their offer­ing. While I do prefer Bread Top’s offer­ings, Tai Baan Bakery does offer them for a lower price. They also have a wide selec­tion of cake rolls as well, in every fla­vour ima­gin­able, includ­ing black ses­ame! The bakery is a firm favour­ite with locals.

Tai Baan Bakery is at 7/​185 Rowe St, Eastwood NSW 2122.