Despite what your high school science teacher taught you, I we humans, like cows, have two stomachs. One for regular normal food, and one just for desserts. When you tell someone you are extremely full, that does not mean that you could not devour a whole plate of sweets after since that food is obviously allocated to your other stomach. In lieu of my grandfather's birthday, I decided to make this post about cakes. I pride myself on my knowledge of where to buy the best pastries and desserts. Traditional Chinese people, (as well as people who have manners), will never go over to someone's house empty handed. One's house should also never be void of food to share with guests in case you have some unexpected visitors. It's part of the Chinese tradition of proper gift giving. So in short, because we always have to show up to our friends' houses with something, we usually show up with pastries or cakes.
Since most of you guys are not in HK right now and since we're on the subject of cakes below I will recommend a handful of places with awesome cakes or pastries. And lucky for you guys they are all located in LA. And let's keep it real... Asian bakeries are the best. I don't know how people put up with those crappy Ralph's or Ice Cream Cakes when they could have way better cakes like these...
Les Versailles Boulange hands down is one of the best bakeries ever. Located in Westminster on Edinger Ave, this Vietnamese owned and operated bakery has no competition. Their cakes are to die for! Their bread is melt in your mouth good and I love love love their chocolate and coffee flavored eclairs!!! Let's not forget their cade sua da (iced coffee) is top of the line. They used to have a shop also in Alhambra but it closed down so Westminster is your only choice. Honestly anything that comes out of here is amazing. Only bad part is that my mom and I spent $40-50 last time we went here. 5 stars on the Kristie yummy scale though!
Ta Da! 85 Degree Celsius Bakery located in Irvine, CA. This is a Taiwanese bakery whose main bakery is in Taipei, Taiwan. Their comes from their famous sea salt coffee because the perfect coffee should be at exactly 85 degrees celsius! The line for this place does not stop. People are always lining into the street no matter what time it is. Aside from having delicious pastries and cakes, another explanation is the poor way they designated their line situation. If they really wanted maximize efficiency there are many ways they could redo it so that lines would never be more than 5 minutes. However, my sister has a theory that they structured their lines so that they place would always seem busy, therefore attracting more curious customers wanting to get in on the action. If she is right... maybe we're the dumb ones instead... Sneaky....
Getting in and out of this place is literally like going to war. Be prepared to trample and be trampled on by tons of hungry Taiwanese, Chinese, Vietnamese ladies, and UC Irvine students (none of which you want to mess with!) 85C's bread is also very delicious. Honorable mentions include their garlic bread that is completely black colored and their huge pineapple bread cake-like thingy. Yes, those are my official names I call them by. Pictured above is their oreo crust chocolate cake. 5 Kristie yummy stars!
Vanille de Patisserie in San Marino is a french inspired Asian Bakery. They're cakes are pretty pricey and in my opinion, not worth it. The place is good-don't get me wrong but just not worth the hefty price tag. Do give this place a try though. Good thing about this place is that they have tea time cake buffets that you can purchase where you get a cup of tea and are allowed to eat as many pieces of cakes as you wish. But for $5-6 per each slice of cake and $50 or over for a full size cake, this would not be my top choice. Their tiramisu cake is worth $5 per slice though-so give it a try and run away from anything else. FYI they just opened a shop in Santa Monica. Personally I wouldn't try it though cause even their San Marino shop has declined in quality over the years. They used to have tons of fresh bread every morning and now even when you go in the morning they claim that they are sold out. Total lie. They should just admit they stopped selling it. Vanille de Patisserie is also one of those Asian bakeries and does those awesomely outrageous cakes in the shapes of LV/Gucci purses, bra and underwear, etc. So if you have the money and want a good laugh definitely special order those funny cakes. Overall though...3.5 Stars in yumminess but 4.5 stars just for their tiramisu.
The 2 cakes above are from JJ's Bakery, a Taiwanese bakery in Arcadia, CA. The left is a mango angel cake and the right is a blueberry chocolate cake. Not only was the blueberry cake really good, but the blueberry filling was also very well balanced inside because it was carefully layered. Their Sahara cake is also very good. Every time I go to JJ's, I tell them it's my birthday because I like to come out with free candles & little birthday signs. Hoarding crap runs in my family! I go here maybe once every 3 weeks because it's quite a drive from my house, which is why I buy 2 cakes for myself each time I go. It's finished within 2/3 days. Their Chinese bread and cookies are also very good. Side note: They also have very clean bathrooms. Do what you will with that information. 5 Kristie stars for the cakes and the toilet!
Domie's Bakery is a Chinese bakery located in Rosemead. They just recently opened one up in San Gabriel too. Their black forest cake is their speciality. I tried their tiramisu and wasn't impressed. It tasted like a cheap Chinese cake... which I guess is what it was. Their cakes are relatively cheaper than all the bakeries I've mentioned above but are still way better than crappy bakeries like Diamond and Kee Wah. According to my mom's friend that owns a restaurant in the (626) area, all the pineapple bread used at Chinese restaurants for afternoon tea in the San Gabriel Valley at restaurants are now bought from Domie's. What a conglomerate in the making! 3.5 stars. Just case it's the most bang for your buck.
Cathy's bakery in San Gabriel on Las Tunas is also pretty good. They have a seasonaly Osaka Chocolate cake, which I think is their standout cake. They also make really good sponge cakes. 4 Kristie Stars!
Taipan Bakery in Arcadia is another decent bakery. 3.5 Stars. But honestly if you're in Arcadia... just go to JJ's.
Momo's Bakery in San Gabriel is also pretty good. It used to be known as Kiki's until they were bought out. Their pastry chefs stayed though so it's all good. Their pandang sponge cake is super good. 4 Stars.
King's Hawaiian Bakery in Torrance has really good Guava sponge cake. You can't taste the guava but you can taste a super good pink colored sponge cake. 5 Kristie Stars!
And last but not least, honorable mention for Susie's Cakes in Calabasas. My mom and sister got my 21st birthday cake from here cause they were too lazy to drive out to the San Gabriel Valley. They ended up paying almost $50 for this cake. It was good but way too chocolately.