Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pangea Bakery


At last. A Taiwanese bakery has finally made its way to San Diego.  Both Taiwan and Hong Kong are very well known for bread bakeries, which offer a huge variety of fresh baked, soft and fluffy breads with various fillings and toppings.

San Diego has pretty much been devoid of a Taiwanese style bakery until Pangea. The closest you can find to chinese style breads are  the Ranch 99 bakery and Tasty Bakery. Both offer some okay bread options, but once you’ve had the better bakeries, it’s really hard to buy anything from these. As a result, one of the things I do when I take an LA road trip is stop by every chinese bakery possible and load up on fresh baked breads.

In Taiwan, bread bakeries are everywhere, making it very convenient to pop in after work and buy some breads for breakfast the next morning or even pop in the morning of for some fresh breakfast bread. The bakeries are set up so that you grab a tray and a pair of tongs near the entrance of the bakery and then work your way across the rows of breads on display, placing the ones you want to purchase on your tray. When you are finished, you make your way to the register and your order is rung up.

I’m not a big bread person in general. I prefer cereal to toast in the morning and I hate sandwiches. If no one is looking, my way of eating a sandwich is removing the bread and eating the inside only.

However, I love chinese style breads. The texture is incredibly soft and fluffy. I prefer the sweet breads, though some of the savory ones are nice too. My absolute favorite is the pineapple bun with no filling. The pineapple bun contains no pineapples but is called a pineapple bun because it sort of resembles one. The top has a sweet crumble which is so addicting. I could eat this bun everyday for breakfast and be content. Some other popular ones are sweet breads filled with red bean paste, custard, coconut custard, taro. Savory ones include ones filled with pork sung, ones topped with cheese and herbs to resemble pizza bread, and hot dog filled buns.

Pangea is located next to Tea Garden. I thought it was a funny name for a bakery that really only offers Taiwanese style breads. Inside, the space is huge. In fact, it seems like the location is too big. The baked goods take up a very small section of the bakery. Then there is a lot of empty space. There are a few tables and also a piano. I’m not quite sure what they plan on doing with all the extra space, and the owners don’t seem to know either.

The selection of breads is a bit smaller than a typical chinese bakery, but there is still a decent variety. There weren’t that many breads on display when I was making my purchase, but as I was leaving, I noticed rows and rows of breads that had been finished baking, but were still waiting to cool and be packaged.

I bought a variety of breads and then took them home to photograph.

Pineapple bun (labeled “puolo” or something similar. I don’t remember their exact spelling, but this name is just phonetically following the chinese word for these breads). They were selling these mini ones without filling, two in one package.

I didn’t like the sugar crystals on top of the bread. I’ve never seen that on a pineapple bun. The topping didn’t have the best sweet buttery crumbly mixture I love, but the bread itself was pretty good. I’m always saying that the bread dough used to make pineapple bread is different from the other various sweet bread doughs. A lot of places make it wrong (like the Ranch 99 bakery in San Diego). This version was more correct. Not the best I’ve had, but a decent version.

I also got the taro mochi bread. Inside the sweet bread is a layer of mochi and then taro paste filling. I love mochi breads and I enjoyed this one.

We also got the taro swirl bread. I was excited to see this one because it looks a lot like one of my favorite breads to get at 85C. This version was pretty good. Not as soft as the one at 85C, but very similar tasting.

Bread with pork sung filling. Despite its appearance, this bread was savory all the way. The exterior had bits of scallion in it. The inside was filled with pork sung (sometimes called pork floss). If you’ve never had pork sung, I’ve found that most non-chinese people really enjoy it. It’s dried pork, but the texture is more like cotton candy. It’s salty and combines well with sweet or plain buns.

Hot dog bread. This bread was topped with cheese, with little pieces of hot dog in its flower petal shapes. There are a couple of hot dog variation breads in chinese bakeries. My favorite are mini hot dogs wrapped in a chinese bun. They didn’t offer the kind I like here, so we got this instead.

Pepperoni and cheese pizza.

Bacon barley bread. Little bits of bacon are wrapped up in this bread, which resembled a stalk of barley.

Overall, I thought the breads were pretty good. They were on the expensive side. And they weren’t as good as the bakeries in Orange County and LA. But they were good enough that I would come back here for my bread fix.

Pangea Bakery
4689 Convoy St Ste 100
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 560-0688
http://pangeabc.com/
Pangea Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

10 Responses to “Pangea Bakery”

  1. 1

    Rosa — June 2, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    The pineapple bun looks a lot like a sweet bread I get at some of the Korean markets that I LOVE. I remember Zion Market having a tiny little bakery section that had some of these types of bread but I do not know how they compare to what you can get at a Taiwanese style bakery.

    • Kirbie replied: — June 2nd, 2011 @ 8:51 am

      Yeah Zion has a tiny bakery. It’s mainly cookies and cakes though, not many breads. I’ve seen more of these kind of breads at other Korean bakeries/markets up in OC. Have you been to the French Baguette? It’s a Korean bakery that I love going to. There’s one in the Bay Area that I go to. I saw there is one in LA as well but I’ve never been to it.

  2. 2

    Soo — June 2, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Thanks for the bakery lead! How does this place compare to JJ bakery? I love JJ bakery and stop by whenever I go to Palos Verdes.

    • Kirbie replied: — June 2nd, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

      It’s not as good as JJ in my opinion, but it’s better than the other offerings in San Diego.

  3. 3

    caninecologne — June 2, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    ooh, i’ve been wanting to go here! i’m not really familiar with taiwanese style breads but they all look so good! i like the light, fluffy textures too.

    • Kirbie replied: — June 2nd, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

      You should go and try it out. I thought they had a decent selection and they were pretty good. Soft, fluffy. I liked all the ones I tried.

  4. 4

    Sandy — June 3, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    I was here a couple of weeks ago, but I just had lunch, so I didn’t go too crazy buying breads. Somehow I missed the piano (or maybe it wasn’t there yet?). I’ve never had mochi bread, and Darlene had posted about the hot dog bread – I’ll have to go back soon!

    • Kirbie replied: — June 3rd, 2011 @ 8:21 am

      I can never seem to leave a bread bakery without buying a ton of breads. hehe. Mochi bread is pretty yummy if you like mochi.

  5. 5

    Jodie — August 4, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    We went there today after dim sum at Emerald. The Custard Bun is AMAZING! The custard filling is like what is inside a bavarian donut! Oh so yummy! Going back and getting more of those for sure.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 6th, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      I’ve never had the custard bun. I need to try it!

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