When you go to the grocery store, do you tend to linger in the bakery section? Well, whenever you walk into an Asian supermarket, you will also find a bakery section. These can be tiny places or a wonderland of sights and smells. Here is a beginner’s guide to Chinese pastries.
The buns are an essential item in any Chinese bakery, whether or not you find them in a supermarket. No matter what you’re in the mood for, you can find a pastry to satisfy your latest craving. The most basic bun is made with wheat, water, milk, eggs, and fat – not unlike American or European-style pastries. But there are a wide variety of fillings, from savories such as hot dogs or roast pork to sweet, like pineapple, pumpkin, and lotus bean paste.
You might not expect Swiss rolls to be included in a list of Chinese pastries. After all, the name alone tells you that they aren’t Chinese, right? While eggy is the standard flavor, there are others such as mango and green tea.
Egg Custard Tarts
Egg custard tarts are a dim sum staple. These treats originated in Macau, an island colony close to Hong Kong that once belonged to Portugal. These tarts feature more egg yolk and are less focused on milk and sugar. Still, these are creamy, rich, and a delight to eat, especially if the pastry crust is extra flaky.
These Chinese pastries may have an unusual name, but they’re also called melon cakes. There’s not much sugar in these, but they are chewy, a quality known as QQ and highly-valued in Taiwan more than the Mainland. It’s shaped like a cookie and is often filled with winter melon.
One last Chinese pastry to look out for may not even resemble a pastry at first. These sesame balls are another hidden gem you can find during your next dim sum session. They’re crispy on the outside, especially when fresh, but they’ll taste of sesame seeds and not oil. Inside, you’ll find glutinous rice and red bean paste.
Although you might think of mochi as Chinese pastries, it actually comes from Japan. And it’s not really a pastry, either; it’s a rice dough mixture that has been made soft and sticky at the same time and can be coated in peanuts or coconut flakes. Then, it often has a gooey filling that can be taro, mango, or green tea, just to name a few varieties.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at LottePlaza.com.