Today’s walk took me into about six different Chinese bakeries. The funny thing is, for the most part, you can’t really tell which bakery you’re in. They generally carry the exact same items so I’m suspicious that many of them cart everything in from the same place either baked or ready to bake. But really, it doesn’t matter to me. I can tell that everything is pretty fresh. Indeed, some of the items are still warm and steaming when they’re put on the shelf.
What I like about nearly all of the Chinese bakeries in the Chinatown area of Toronto, is that they function on a self-serve basis. As you enter the store, you grab one of the trays and a set of tongs from the pile near the door. Then, as you wander down the one or two aisles, you open the little windows, pick out the items you want using the tongs, and place them on your tray. I quite like not having to point through glass to show someone which items I want. When you pay, each item is put into a tiny bag either by itself or with one other item. No food touching. Perfect.
Then, the other thing that simply cannot be beat is the price. Seriously, how can they keep this up? 50 cents or 80 cents per item, some of the larger items are still only $2 or $3. Sure, they have to compete with all the other bakeries in the area, but if the same item was available in a non-Chinese bakery, it would be priced at least twice as much. The problem is that the prices cause me to leave with far more goodies than I should. But is that really all that bad?
Anyways, today’s visit to Ding Dong netted an unreasonable number of items. The egg tart with the flaky crust disappeared almost instantly so I have no picture for you. For me, it wasn’t quite as good as a Greek egg tart but at one third the price, I was quite the happy camper. Yum. It was joined shortly thereafter by a beef bun, melon cookies, vanilla cake, cake in paper, the Chinese equivalent of a rice krispie square, a sugar bun, and a couple other things with names I can’t possibly pronounce.