Bao Place

The Bao Place is a small shop located on Kingsway, just across from Metrotown. As the name suggests, they specialize in steamed buns, which they offer in about a dozen varieties. I finally had a chance to check the place out during a recent visit to Superstore. I had their BBQ Delight, Buttermilk, Taro, Pork Deluxe, Curry Dynamite, and Belly Belly Pork buns, as well as a sample of their Chili Oil.

BBQ Delight ($3):


4/5
This was filled with ground pork in a bbq sauce. The bun looked a bit flat in appearance, but was actually quite light and fluffy. The pork was tender and juicy, and had a nice bit of sweetness.

Buttermilk ($2.50):


3.5/5
The filling was actually more custard-like, and contained coconut. It was on the sweeter side while the coconut provided a great fragrance.

Taro ($2.50):


3.5/5
The filling was quite creamy and mildly sweet. I did find the flavour here to be a tad subtle/mild, but it was still tasty.

Pork Deluxe ($3.75):


4/5
This was filled whit ground pork, sausage, egg, water chestnuts and other ingredients. The pork was very tender, juicy, and well-seasoned. The chestnuts provided a great texture while the egg provided a nice creaminess.

Curry Dynamite ($3):


3.5/5
This was filled with beef. The meat had a nice bit of heat, although I didn’t get much fragrance of the filling.

Belly Belly Pork ($3.25):


4/5
This was filled with pieces of pork belly. The pork was very tender and juicy. I did find it to be a tad on the underseasoned side.

Chili Oil:
This provided a really nice fragrance, richness as well as heat, and was a nice sauce for the bun to be dipped in.

I’m glad to have finally stopped by The Bao Place. Their buns, although a bit flat-looking, are nevertheless still soft and fluffy; the fillings are also tasty, and I quite enjoyed their chili oil. All in all this, is a spot that I think is worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: BBQ Delight, Pork Deluxe, Belly Belly Pork
Bao Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Janice Cakeshop

I don’t go to Richmond often. I had no idea that the 430, which goes to Richmond, comes like once every 30 minutes on Sundays. I found that out during my visit to Janice’s Cakeshop. They are a small Asian/Chinese-style Bakery located in Richmond. As their name suggests, they make a large variety of cakes, as well as other baked goods. During my visit, I had several of their cakes (Green Tea Mousse, Fresh Mango, Lemon Cheesecake and Chestnut Cake), as well as a Pork Floss Sandwich, a Ham and Egg Sandwich, and a Pineapple Bun. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the bakery, so I don’t know the exact prices for their goods, but they are fairly cheap.

dav
Fresh Mango, Green Tea Mousse, Lemon Cheesecake, Chestnut Cake

Pineapple Bun (around $1.50):


3/5
The bun was fluffy and soft. The topping was crispy and provided a nice sweetness; unfortunately, I did find the bun to be a bit too plain to enjoy on its own.

Pork Floss Sandwich (around $1.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of pork floss and cheese with a clear, slightly sweet paste on whole wheat bread. The whole wheat bread was a bit dry and grainy for me. I really enjoyed the pork floss and the paste however.

Green Tea Mousse Cake (around $4):


2/5
This consisted of layers of green tea mousse and sponge cake. The cake was fine, being light and fluffy. Unfortunately, I did not like the mousse at all, which as thick, gummy, and utterly flavourless.

Fresh Mango Cake (around $4):


3.5/5
This consisted of layers of sponge cake sandwiching mangoes and cream. The cake was light and fluffy while the mango was sweet and tangy. I found the flavours to be a bit too bland, but this is definitely a good choice for anyone who wants something lighter.

Ham and Egg Sandwich (around $1.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of white bread sandwiching slices of ham and eggs, and what appears to be mayo. The bread was much less dry compared to the whole wheat from the Pork Floss sandwich. I initially found the sandwich to be a tad bit bland, but the interior was actually flavourful, with the mayo providing some richness to go along with the bread.

Lemon Cheesecake (around $4):


4/5
The cheesecake was quite light and fluffy, and had a great fresh, lemony flavour. The crust was also crispy. This is a lighter option to a regular cheesecake.

Chestnut Cake (around $4):


4/5
This consisted of sponge cake that’s sandwiches with chestnut paste and whipped cream. The cake was light and fluffy while the chestnut paste was creamy and wildly sweet.

In spite of the long wait for the 430 to come along, I really enjoyed my trip to Janice Cakeshop. With the exception of the green tea mousse, I quite enjoyed all of their other cakes, and their sandwiches were also quite good. The prices are also very reasonable. Definitely a bakery/shop that’s worth visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Lemon Cheesecake, Fresh Mango Cake, Chestnut Cake
Janice Cake Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Only Cafe

After my visit to Cafe Lokal for some food, I headed over to The Only Cafe, which was located just a few doors down. They are an Asian/Japanese-style cafe located in Kits, on 4th Avenue. In addition to serving up various drinks, both hot and cold, they have various sandwiches and baked goods. I had a Matcha Latte, Japanese Cheesecake, and Matcha Pound Cake.

Matcha Latte ($4.75):


4/5
The latte was actually not sweet at all, but was slightly bitter with a creamy texture. It had a pretty good matcha flavour, which was quite impressive seeing that most matcha-flavoured drinks tend to be a little weak.

Japanese Cheesecake ($4):


3/5
The cake was more light and yogurt like compared to NY cheesecake. The filling was creamy and tangy, but a bit lacking in flavour and gummy in some areas. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of the crust beneath, which was a bit grainy.

Matcha Pound Cake (around $4-5):


3.5/5
The cake was a bit hard, but still tasty and had a mildly sweet flavour. The matcha flavour was a bit weak, but that is kind of expected from most matcha-flavoured desserts.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of their cheesecake from The Only Cafe, I enjoyed the pound cake and was impressed by their latte. The staff was friendly and the prices were fair. This is definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Matcha Latte, Matcha Pound Cake
The Only Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mei Yee Bakery

Mei Yee, is a Chinese/Asian bakery located on the corner of Victoria and 41st. They produce a pretty impressive assortment of cakes, buns, cookies, steamed buns, and other goodies. I’ve visited the place once, a number of years ago, to buy a cake for my dad’s birthday. I decided to revisit the place recently. Unfortunately, when I tried taking pictures of their food, a staff member saw me and asked me to stop. Well, that’s fine (I understand that people may want some privacy), but since I don’t have photos, I can’t remember the exact names of some of the stuff I bought or their prices, so I’ll just put them in quotation marks. I had a Bola-Bola Steamed Bun, “Sticky Rice with Pork”, “Taro Bun with Crispy Topping”, “BBQ Pork Bun with Crispy Topping”, “Custard Bun with Crispy Topping” and “Pork Floss Onion Roll”.

Bola-Bola Steamed Bun ($2):


3.5/5
This contained egg, pork, sausages, chestnuts, mushrooms among other fillings. The bun was nice and fluffy. There was a pretty good amount of filling, which albeit a tad on the blander side, was still tasty and savoury, with a lot of different textures. This was very large, almost twice the size of other buns.

“Sticky Rice with Pork” (around $1.20):


3.5/5
This consisted of glutinous rice that’s stuffed with ground pork. The outer parts had a slightly nice bit of crispiness while the rice had a bit of sweetness. The filling was quite savoury and had a bit of a seafood-like flavour to it.

Taro Bun with Crispy Topping (around $1.20):


3.5/5
This was a pineapple ball that’s filled with taro paste. The bun was quite sluffy and soft; I really enjoyed the topping, which provided great sweetness and texture. The taro was creamy and mildly sweet; I do wish there could be a bit more filling, however.

BBQ Pork Bun with Crispy Topping (around $1.20):


3.5/5
This was the same as the taro bun, except with BBQ pork. The pork had a pretty unusual bright red colour, but was still tender, and had a nice sweetness. It was not as overstuffed as the one from New Town, but the amount of filling was still generous.

Custard Bun with Crispy Topping (around $1.20):


3.5/5
This was the same as the taro bun, but with custard filling. I quite enjoyed the custard, which was creamy and mildly sweet. Again, the filling was not well distributed throughout the bun, but there was a fairly good amount in the centre.

“Pork Floss Onion Roll” (around $1.20):


3/5
This was essentially a small swiss roll cake that’s topped with green onions and pork floss. The cake itself was quite soft and moist. Unfortunately, I did find the combination of the onion and cake to be a bit too weird/off-putting.

I really enjoyed my visit to Mei Yee. The food, while not as good as some other places like New Town, were still solid and the prices are a great bargain. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Steamed Buns, Buns with Crispy Topping, “Sticky Rice with Pork”
Mei Yee Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Golden Ray Bakery

Living in Kensington region, there are quite a few Chinese/Asian bakeries around. One such joint is Golden Ray Bakery, which is located on Kingsway, near Knight Street. Although small, they do offer a pretty good variety of baked buns, steamed buns, cookies, and cakes. During my visit, I had their Cheese Hot Dog, Tuna, Curry Beef, Pizza, BBQ Pork Pineapple, and Dried Pork Buns, as well as a Pork & Egg Steamed Bun.

Pork & Egg Steamed Bun ($1.75):


4/5
This was filled with minced pork, Chinese sausage, and egg. The bun outside was fluffy with a nice bit of sweetness. There was a fairly good amount of filling inside, with the meats being tender and juicy and the sausage having a wonderful fragance (I do love Chinese sausage; I probably wouldn’t want to know what actually goes into them, but they are frigging delicious).

Cheese Hot Dog Bun ($1.40):


3.5/5
The bread itself was relatively soft with a slight bit of sweetness. The hotdog was just a standard hotdog that’s quite processed, but still very tasty. The cheese was also very tasty. I do wish there’s a bit more filling, however.

Tuna Bun ($1.40):


3/5
The tuna was quite savoury and had a great creaminess (probably from mayo). It was a tad bit fishy, but that’s expected. Again, I could have done with more filling.

Curry Beef Bun ($1.40):


3/5
The bread was quite fluffy and soft. I quite enjoyed the curry, which was fragrant and mildly sweet; there just wasn’t much meat, however, and I do find that they were a bit stingy on the amount of filling.

BBQ Pork Pineapple Bun ($1.40):


3.5/5
I quite enjoyed the “pineapple” topping, which provided a nice sweetness and a bit of texture. The filling was also sweet, and the pieces of pork were tender. Again, I do wish that they could have been a little more generous with the amount of filling.

Pizza Bun ($1.40):


3/5
This was filled with tomato sauce, peppers, hotdog and cheese. I wasn’t a big fan of the tomato sauce or peppers, which I found to be a little bland. The hot dogs (which was the same as the ones from the Cheese Hot Dog bun) were tasty however, and the cheese provided a nice creaminess.

Dried Pork Bun ($1.40):


2.5/5
This was topped with dried pork floss. In most versions, the bun would be split open, and there would be this clear, sweet glaze inside; this wasn’t the case here, however. The bun was still tasty, being fluffy and soft, and the floss had a nice savouriness. I do miss the glaze however, which is normally my favourite part of these types of buns.

The baked buns at Golden Ray Bakery are mostly just mediocore, but I did really enjoy the steamed bun. The prices are very affordable, however: most of the buns are around $1.50. This isn’t the best bakery around, but it is decent and worth visiting. They are cash only, so make sure that you’ve got some on you when you visit.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pork & Egg Steamed Bun, BBQ Pork Pineapple Bun
Golden Ray Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Gloucester

You know what sucks about being a Shanghainese/Mandarin-speaking Chinese in Vancouver? Every time you enter a Cantonese shop/restaurant the staff always assumes that you know Cantonese and you end up looking/feeling like an idiot when you’ve got no idea what they are saying. The most recent incident of this happened during my visit to Gloucester Cafe. They are a Hong Kong-style restaurant located on Cambie. Like most restaurants of their kind, they have quite an extensive menu of Asian-Western fusion style dishes. Of course, the staff assumed that I knew Cantonese, and I did feel a bit embarrassed/awkward telling them that I didn’t understand what they were saying (especially when probably 90% of their customers are Cantonese speakers). Fortunately, they do speak English, and I was able to to order Macau Style Bun with Pork Chop and Gloucester Club House Spaghetti without trouble.

Macau Style Bun with Pork Chop ($10.99):


4/5
This comes with your choice of chicken, pork, or fish (I went with pork) and comes with fries and your choice of either coffee or tea (I had coffee). The pork chop was a bit chewy in some parts, but still tender, juicy, and flavourful. I really enjoyed the bread, which was crispy and nicely toasted on the outside and soft and chewy on the interior. The fries were decent; not the crispiest but still tasty and well seasoned. I found the coffee to be a bit weak for my taste: I actually thought it was tea, but it was creamy.

Gloucester Club House Spaghetti ($13.59):


3.5/5
This consisted of spaghetti in a tomato sauce containing ham, scrambled eggs, and mushrooms, and was topped with a sunny side up egg. The noodles were nicely cooked, being tender while retaining a bit of firmness. The sauce was pretty thick and coated the spaghetti well. I did find the flavours to be a tad one-note, but still tasty.

In spite of feeling a bit out of place, I did quite enjoy the food at Cafe Gloucester. Their prices are also very reasonable. The service is typical of most Chinese-style restaurants: the staff aren’t particularly attentive, but they are quite efficient. This is definitely worth visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Macau Style Bun with Pork Chop
Cafe Gloucester Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saint Germain Bakery (Metrotown)

I visit the Superstore in Metrotown quite frequently, and each time I do, I end up passing by St. Germaine. They are an Asian bakery with several locations throughout the Lower Mainland, with one being in Metrotown. I finally caved in and decided to check the place out recently. It was early when I went, and they still hadn’t put out about half of their goods, so the selection was a bit limited. I ended up getting their Curry Beef Turnover, BBQ Pork Roll, and Chicken Pie.

Curry Beef Turnover ($1.96):


3.5/5
The crust was quite flaky and savoury while the filling was fragrant, flavourful, and had a slight bit of heat/spice. I did find it to be a bit overly salty however.

BBQ Pork Roll ($1.96):


4/5
The crust was similar to that of the turnover; however, I actually found it to be even more flaky and rich. I also really enjoyed the filling, which had a nice bit of sweetness to help balance the saltiness of the crust.

Chicken Pie ($1.96):


3/5
The crust here is not the same as that of the turnover or roll: it was actually quite crunch and cookie-like, and was a bit sweet without any savoury flavour, which was a bit strange/off-putting for me as I didn’t feel that it paired well with the filling. I did enjoy the filling inside however: there was plenty of tender chicken, which was well-seasoned and flavourful.

I really enjoyed the pastries at St. Germaine. Their prices are relatively cheap, as is typical with most Asian bakeries. All in all, this is definitely a shop that I’d recommend visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Curry Beef Turnover, BBQ Pork Roll
Saint Germain Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Angel Cake Cafe

I really hate sending back dishes. It really makes me feel like an a-hole and I just feel very bad for the staff and the restaurant (I’m not a person to waste food). Unfortunately, I found myself doing just that during my visit to Angel Food Cafe, a Hong Kong style restaurant located on Fraser Street, in the Punjabi Market. While they serve up quite a large menu of very tasty-looking food, there’s just one dish that I just HAD to try in particular: Baked Curry Beef Brisket Thick Toast (they also have a chicken variety, but I went with beef). It’s seriously a blend of two awesome things: curry beef brisket and fluffy French toast. I also had their Baked Pork Chop with Tomato Sauce on Rice. The curry beef brisket arrived first…only it wasn’t the dish that I ordered: it was curry beef with a side of rice instead of toast. In another situation, I’d probably just suck it up and accept the dish, but I had come specifically to Angel Cafe to just try their toast. I ended up sending the dish back and telling the staff that I had ordered their toast version. I seriously felt pretty terrible.

Baked Curry Beef Brisket Thick Toast ($9.95):


4/5
This consisted of a small loaf of toast that’s filled with beef curry. The toast was of the Asian-style milk toast variety, and was very fluffy and had a wonderful chewiness. The curry was also very flavourful and savoury, with several large pieces of tender beef and potatoes. I did find a few of the potato pieces to be a tad undercooked.

Baked Pork Chop with Tomato Sauce on Rice ($10.25):


4/5
The pork chop had a lightly crunchy coating, and was quite meaty and tender. While I’m generally not the biggest fan of tomato sauce, I actually quite enjoyed the version here; it was quite thick and not overly tangy. The portion size isn’t very large, but their prices are quite cheap, making it a very reasonable deal.

While I seriously felt pretty bad about having to send back a dish, I have to say, the thick toast was worth the embarrassment. Their Baked Pork Chop with Tomato Sauce on Rice was also quite tasty. The prices were also very reasonable. I did find their service to be a bit lacking unfortunately (which is typical of most Asian restaurants); and it definitely helps if you can speak Cantonese as that’s the language that the staff primarily uses. The good food and prices more than make up for the lackluster service however, and I’d highly recommend checking this place out if you enjoy HK cuisine. This is cash only, so be sure to have some bills on you.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Baked Curry Beef Brisket Thick Toast, Baked Pork Chop with Tomato Sauce on Rice
Angel Cake Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

3 Quarters Full

I didn’t think that I’d find a place more overpriced than Ganache Patisserie, but then I visisted 3 Quarters Full. The latter is a small bakery/restaurant located near English Bay offering various Asian/Taiwainese style breakfast/lunch items, including a good assortment of buns and cakes. Being the massive sugarholic that I am, I was primarily interested in their desserts and ended up purchasing a Naidong Roll (Original with Strawberry), Mille Crepe Cake (Uji Matcha with Red Bean), Tiramisu, and Dirty Cake. Now they did not have the prices of their pastries being shown, so just imagine my shock when the bill came to almost $40. Yes, $40 for four TINY slices of cakes (think 1/2-1/3 the size of those that I get from Cadeaux or Trafiq for less than $7 a slice). WTF! Of course, I was WAY too embarrassed to cancel my order by then, so I just grinned and beared the pain, and parted with my cash.

Naidong Roll (Original with Strawberry, $7.50):


4/5
This was a swiss roll consisting of a sponge cake that’s filled with cream, a piece of jello, and a strawberry. The sponge cake itself was pretty good: light, fluffly, mildly sweet, and was not overly dry. Although I’m not normally a huge fan of jello, I actually enjoyed it here, which was not overly stiff and had a nice fragrance. The flavours here are mild,

Mille Crepe Cake (Uji Matcha with Red Bean, $13):


4/5
This consisted of layers of matcha-flavoured crepe sandwiching cream and red bean filling. This was the first time that I’ve had this type of dessert before, and I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The crepe was quite tender, with a slightly chewy texture, and had a wonderful aroma of matcha. The red bean filling was mildly sweet, slightly starchy, and paired very well with the green tea.

Tiramisu ($9.95):


3.5/5
This consisted of layers of coffee flavoured cake sandwiching cream/mousse. The cake was quite soft, light and fluffy, and had a nice bit of bitterness. I did find the coffee flavour to be a little weak however, and I do wish that they could have used a bit more liquor as I like my cake to be more moist in a tiramisu.

The Dirty Cake ($8.95):


3/5
This consisted of their plain, matcha, and chocolate cake, sandwiching layers of cake and topped with chocolate glaze. Each of the cakes were quite soft and fluffy, although I can’t really taste much of their individual flavours. The cream was light, and mildly sweet. This was just fine; nothing memorable/special.

Now, I will give credit where it’s due: I did actually quite like the cakes from 3 Quarters Full. Furthermore, the staff members are quite friendly. When I entered, the lady working behind the counter greeted me and took me through their menu and explained everything to me (although I sure do wish that she could have told me the freaking prices of the cakes!). However, the outrageous pricing have literally left a bad taste in my mouth, and I honestly cannot recommend this place for their desserts, not when there are at least a dozen other great Asian-style bakeries around offering just as tasty cakes at a fraction of the cost.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 0/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 2.5/5
Recommendations: N/A (Mille Crepe Cake, Naidong Roll if you’ve got money to burn)

3 Quarters Full Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Michele Cake Shop

I’m not the biggest fan of Asian/Chinese-style cakes. I often find them to be just too dry and bland. However, it seems that a lot of Asian bakeries have been stepping up their game in the cake department. I’ve quite enjoyed the desserts that I tried at Marui Bakery. More recently, my visit to Michele Cake Shop has further improved my perception of Asian cakes. The latter is a Chinese/Asian-style bakery in Kerrisdale that make a good selection of cakes, as well as buns and pastries. For my visit, I stuck to just their sweets, and got their Tiramisu, Michele Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, and Portuguese Tart.

Portuguese Tart ($1.75):


4/5
This is similar to a regular egg tart, except that the top is bruleed/caramelized. The crust was a bit bland, but quite tender and flaky. I quite liked the egg custard, which was smooth, mildly sweet, and had a pleasant eggy fragrance. I actually prefer this over the ones from Marui as it is a bit more flavourful (without being overly sweet).

Tiramisu ($3.99):


4.5/5
This consisted of layers of coffee sponge cake sandwiching coffee mousse. This is a fantastic rendition of the dessert. The cake was soft and light while the mousse was smooth and airy, with a wonderful bitter-sweet flavour. The cake also had a fantastic fragrance of coffee liquor.

Michele Cheesecake ($3.50):


4.5/5
This consisted of a layer of fluffier, Asian-style cheesecake on top of another layer of denser, more Western-style cheesecake. The top layer was light and fluffy with a nice citrusy fragrance, while the bottom was richer, creamier, and had a wonderful tang. This is seriously the best of both worlds.

Chocolate Cake ($2.75):


3.5/5
This was made up of layers of chocolate sponge cake and chocolate cream, and decorated with a small cream puff. Again, the cake was very fluffy and light. I personally found the chocolate/cocoa flavour to be a bit too weak. I also didn’t really care for the cream puff, which was bland and had a slightly oily texture, although it was quite a nice decoration.

I had managed expectations for the desserts at Michele Cake Shop and I must say, I was quite blown away by how tasty some of their cakes were. The prices are a bit on the higher side for an Asian-style bakery, but I think it’s quite reasonable given the quality of their desserts. Whether you like Asian-style sweets or not, I highly recommend giving this place a try.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Tiramisu, Michele Cheesecake, Portuguese Tart
Michele Cake Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato