Thursday, June 24, 2010
bakery/desserts: i strongly recommend ORIGINAL BAKERY
or YUAN DIAN
No. 7, Lane 22, SiWei Rd
hours: 12PM - 6PM
Kid friendliness: kids will love the selections; small patio and inside table seating
Visit reviewed: 9/11/2009 & 4/27/2010 & 5/14/2010
Happy birthday to me- well, to A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei at least. It was a short five years ago that I first started this blog. Wow. It doesn't feel like five years, but it does. You know how when you think about high school and it feels more recent than last week sometimes, but then you realize how much you've grown since then. Hopefully.
I won't dwell too long on how happy I am with how the blog's evolved and helped me take better pictures and play around with different cameras; about how I love getting emails, tweets, Facebook messages and comments from readers appreciating the blog or giving their two cents about a place I've written up; the friends I've connected with on and offline; and most of all, how the blog helped me orient my sense of direction of the streets and maps here and helped me discover amazing food from around the world in the nooks and cranny of the alleys and lanes of Taipei.
From Vietnamese pho and sandwiches to Korean cold noodles, some of my favorite restaurants are from recommendations from you guys, the readers, I don't think I would have found them otherwise- so thank you so much and don't stop recommending places. And thank you to my dear friends and family who let me take photos of the food before they can dig in (though I'm fast!) and introduce me to new restaurants so I can share them with you.
So one of these favorite finds from a friend is this tiny bakery hidden in an alley behind Ren Ai Circle/Dunhua S. Road- Original Bakery. The first time I had their chocolate cake, I was in love. From the fluffy moist cake to the creamy, airy frosting, it's my favorite cake for birthdays recently. While the cake is rich and chocolately, it's not heavy and dense like many of the sweeter chocolate cakes available here.
Most Chinese cakes here are not very sweet and the frosting can be gross, so I rarely ever eat all of the frosting. The frosting on this cake tastes like it is whipped and has the right amount of sweetness- not too sweet, not not sweet enough. But they don't decorate the cake, and though they write messages on the cake, it's only in pink frosting.
So it wasn't until I had to order and pick up a cake for a family member that I went to the actual bakery (my friends did all the pick ups previously for our girl's lunch birthdays or had it delivered) which actually has a delectable range of fresh baked breads and desserts. Even though the bakery opens at noon, most of their baking happens in the late afternoon. While they make different kinds everyday that come out at different times of the afternoon/evening, the owner said that you can call ahead and check if they have the one you want or ask them to put it on hold until you are able to pick it up. I also appreciate that the most of the breads have signs with English as well as Chinese, so I don't have to guess or keep asking.
The first time I stopped off at night and the second around 3PM, it was not that crowded, but another time in the afternoon, the patio and inside was packed with afternoon tea'ers.
Some of my favorite things I've tried that I heartily recommend-
the olive cheese bread. I think this was just out of the oven when I bought it, it was still warm. With plenty of olives and chunks of cheese, the soft yet crusty bread was halfway gone before I got home.
marinated artichoke. When I paid for my goods, I asked the owner about the artichoke and she gave me a sample that she had mixed with canned tuna. It was like a wonderful mediterranean deli salad you could find at Bristol Farms or something. I bought a jar and made it at home to go with the bread.
and the cinnamon buns. The smell of whatever is being baked permeates the bakery and the first time it was cinnamon. I had to buy the buns and they were amazing. Not glazed with frosting, instead it was like bread swirled with cinnamon and sugar. Sorry I didn't get a picture, I must have inhaled it before my camera could click.
Other things I've tried but weren't crazy about- the cream puff (get the ones from Laetitia instead) and a sesame bread.
If you want to try the chocolate cake, but don't have a birthday, you can also buy it by the slice. Some of their other desserts include cheesecake and tiramisu, and I think I spotted some jams for sale by the jar as well.
So here's to discovering and sharing many more years of new favorites in Taipei. Has Hungry in Taipei helped you find any of your favorite restaurants or what favorites do you think I need to check out?
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