I had mentioned previously that I would often go to different pastry shops for certain favorite breads and pastries that are unique to that particular shop. That is exactly what I do at Simply Splendid, a small, modest bakery surrounded by restaurants and shops inside an uninspiring strip mall in Alhambra.
One of my long time favorite is a Hong Kong style bread with the name of Cocktail Bun. Here, this elongated, unassuming looking bun is fully filled with a dense, luscious, buttery coconut mixture that is beyond good. Usually, I have somewhat decent self control when it comes to eating sweet pastries. I often can stop after one or two bites, and saving the rest for later. However, with this bun, which comes three to a package, I have not been able to consume less than two entire buns at one sitting.
Some days the chef would make these little mochi cubes that come in a plastic container with a side of grounded peanuts/sugar mixture. They are some of the softest and best mochi I have ever tried – with the texture being slightly chewy, and a taste that is ever so delicately sweet from the rice. My son’s eyes would lit up every time I bring them home. The obstacle, however, is that they are not always available.
On a recent visit, I discovered a baked radish pastry that I find to be the best of its class. The flakiness of the crust, along with a moist filling of shredded radish and finely grounded pork, offers a precise combination of savoriness and sweetness, without the often overly salty taste that is associated with this type of radish pastry.
There are two versions of the plain croissants here that I find I cannot get enough of. One is made with wheat flour and the other one with white. The texture, unlike the traditional french croissant, is not flaky. In fact, they are a bit chewy; but it is that chewiness, combined with the rich buttery taste that I find irresistible.
The mantou, a traditional steamed bun, is offered here in white and wheat versions as well, and comes in a package of four. The wheat version, if available, is the perfect bread for me. The taste might seem bland to most people, but it is precisely that blandness that I find appealing. The steaming process somehow seems a bit healthier to me than baking.
Simply Splendid: 1273 E. Valley Blvd. Alhambra, CA 91801 Phone: 626-308-3277