The pastry shops in Asia are no boulangeries. They have an identity that is a clear fusion of the East and West. I know I maybe biased for having been in a French family for decades but I strongly believe that excellent pastry should be like the ones you get from a French boulangerie. As a contrast, below is from a fancy pastry shop in the Brother Hotel off Nanjing Fuxing MRT station in Taipei.
The purple burrito like bread, 山之燒竽泥, is supposedly Japanese and has mochi and mashed taro filling. The green burrito-shaped bread, 山之燒山藥, is filled with Chinese yam.
Now the fun part… Once you bite into it, you see the outer skin or the burrito-like wrapper starting to come off of what one would normally consider as the bread. Between the burrito wrapping and the bread, mochi (the white substance near the top of the photo) acts as the adhesive. Then the mashed taro filling is encase by the bread.
This feels more like an arts & crafts project than eating a pastry. I don’t even know how to properly evaluate this piece of bread. I don’t think of bread this way. I don’t even know if I like it. Nevertheless, the experience is out of the box. Weird, too.
This is the Taiwanese version of the “peanut butter sandwich.” It is peanut powder plus butter. Did you notice that every piece of pastry has its own plastic bag? The entire store is filled with pastry in bags on trays which are placed on shelves.
This only happens in Asia where a Western invention like the bread is brought in and fused with the Asian tastes (burrito wraps), ingredients (taro, yam, and mochi), interpretations (peanut powder and butter) and cultural needs (the individual plastic bags). This is unfamiliar for the French American in me but I’m sure by the time I’m back in New York, I will be missing my burrito-shaped-taro-mochi bread. 🙂
This experience took place at
Brother Hotel Bakery 兄弟大飯店
No. 255, Section 3, Nanjing E Rd
Songshan District, Taipei City, 105
+886 02 2712 3456