What? Gloucester Bakery for buns!
Where? 131 Ravel Rd. (North York, inside the plaza at the corner of Finch & Leslie)
Price? $3.30 (this is a pretty common deal: 6 buns = no tax)
The skinny: I love buns. Chinese bakeries are my friends and this one is pretty decent although the quality has gone down a bit over the years. I grew up going to this location specifically, for “mini-special” occasions—i.e. when I’d stay at my grandma’s during the summer. She lived within walking distance so we’d trek over there, looking super-cool in our colourful outfits, magenta hats and being shaded by her cat & dog umbrella. No lie, I actually thought we were being really fashionable and à la mode.
Before heading over to The Sugar to have dinner with a close friend of mine—Vickie, we grabbed some buns at Gloucester Bakery to bring home. Years ago, the take-out boxes used to be pink and white, quite frilly and decorative looking with the bakery’s name on top. It has now been reduced to a questionable white box. :(
At least it’s hiding some goodies! :D:D Pretty much got our staples: the always-good hot dog bun, BBQ pork bun (it’s under the hot dog bun), red bean bun, custard bun, coconut bun, and almond cookie.
Coconut Cream Bun
My parents’ favourite bun would be this one. They enjoy the light buttercream piped along the bun with the desiccated coconut sprinkled on top. Eat it fresh and you’ll like it. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the cream just because I feel like I’m overindulging myself.
NOTE: If the bun itself is made well, then all the other ingredients that differentiate buns only help to enhance it. You want a fluffy, airy, moist and slightly sweet bread.
With my brother’s allergy to dozens of foods, choices of buns are very limited for him. :( Once my grandma found out he can eat custard buns, and that he likes them, there was no stopping her. I mean this woman would brave puddles, rain, wind and cold to get a half-dozen (yes we’ll by more just to save the tax! ;D) of these to my brother. Love her!! These buns are filled with plenty of egg custard. I prefer them hot since the natural aroma of the eggs are more prominent.
No close-up of this one because I didn’t have a camera on me when I ate it. Just to let you know, this was the most “expensive” item at $1 but it was well worth it. The entire cookie tastes like the Pineapple Bun / Red Bean Bun topping! Which is SO GOOD!!! The cookie is dry but still a little moist. Be careful when eating because is crumbles a lot. The almond flavour is very prominent.
BBQ Pork Bun
I want to venture a guess that these buns were made from the same premise as the sandwich…where the Earl of Sandwich didn’t want to pause during his card game to eat so he had his servants bring food in the form of slices of meat sandwiched between two slices of bread.
Maybe someone enjoyed BBQ pork so much (it can be orgasmically good) that they served it in a very handy format, in a bun! Unfortunately, the pork in here is not the orgasmic kind. It’s still pretty decent after you warm it up!
Hot Dog Bun
Of course this was the first thing that went on my tray. I grew up eating these!! Again, no close-up photo since I kinda engulfed this bad boy on the way home. I use to eat them by tearing piecesof the bread off, eating that and leaving myself with the hot dog. I would then peel off the rubbery outer "shell" of it with my teeth before finally eating the remnants of the hot dog. Love the contrast of the salty/savoury-ish hot dog with the soft subtle sweetness of the bread. :D This was what I wished I could eat for every meal when I was 7.
Red Bean Bun
This bun looks exactly the same as a “Pineapple Bun” from the outside. However the latter has no filling and the former has a red bean filling.
This particular bun was meh—only because it was the final batch of the day since we got there only about half an hour before they close. They’re usually quite good. Fresh, the crust on top is sweet and crumbly. The filling is very aromatic and tastes great and healthy at the same time.
Verdict: I have a huge soft spot for sweets/desserts. This satisfies that craving and reminds me of my childhood (in a very good & tasty way). They basically haven’t changed their prices in 12 years so that’s pretty favourable. I’ll only return when I’m in the neighbourhood though. :)
4 out of 5 NOMs