Mon Hei Bakery

I got a taste of a different kind of dessert last month when we took our college students on a field trip to Chinatown. We went on a walking tour that included a stop at the venerable Mon Hie Chinese Bakery.  Our guide had intended to talk about the history of the many local Asian bakeries, but he lost the students (and me) as the delightful smells of freshly-baked dough wafted outside.

Now, normally I’m not big on Asian desserts (when I lived in Thailand, they usually served me sweet rice after a meal, which just doesn’t cut it in my book).  But when my students, thrilled at the low prices, started ordering rolls and pastries, I had to join in the fun. The lady at the counter insisted I try their signature pastry: the Cocktail Bun.

Fresh out of the oven, it had a texture similar to that of a hot-cross bun, but with a coconut paste filling. And it was waaaay better than a hot-cross bun.  My students were similarly impressed with their choices, and our poor guide was all but abandoned as we devoured our snacks (and ordered more).  Next stop: the nearby fortune cookie factory…

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