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.
First off, of course, is the Red Bean Sesame Ball ($1.10).
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.
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.
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.
This is the Pineapple Bun with Red Bean Filling ($1.90).
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.
And to finish off the sweet buns, I try the Cocktail Bun ($1.20), a staple of any Chinese bakery.
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 –
This is the Mushroom and Chicken Bun ($1.80).
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.
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.