If you live in the GVRD, there is a good chance you've have eaten pastries from Chinese bakeries. Yes, there are the usual suspects: BBQ Pork Buns, Cocktail Buns, Pineapple Buns, Egg Tarts, Curry Puff Pastries and Chicken Pie. There are a multitude of places that bake up these tasty treats such as Maxim's, St. Germain, Anna's, New Town, Pine House and many other independent bakeries.Today, we were driving home from Dim Sum and I noticed we were passing by Pine House Bakery on Hastings near Nanaimo. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, I brake hard and zip into the first available parking space I saw. Yes, I am perpetuating the stereotype that Chinese people can't drive. I'm not sure what made me stop, was it that Pine House is the best Chinese bakery in the GVRD? Absolutely not. Then why did I go get 16 assorted buns and pastries from somewhere I don't consider to be the best? Well, Pine House isn't the best, but certainly is not the worst. I was no where near a Maxim and I was pretty far from Richmond. I really had no choice.
I had the attack of the "I want Chinese buns and pastries" cravings. Yes, it's an odd craving, but trust me, it does happen to people. You suddenly want to taste the sweet, buttery coconut filling of a Gai Mei Bao (Cocktail Bun), enjoy the crumbly mess that is the Bor Lor Bao (Pineapple Bun) or bite into the sweet, fatty pork that is in the Char Sui Bao (BBQ Pork Bun). So I head into Pine House and I get the nice lady to stuff the box full of 16 buns and pastries. It could barely hold it all. No matter, I was planning on eating one anyways. That would've relieved the pressure of the really full box. So what is the difference between all the bakeries anyways? Well, naturally there is a difference in taste, appearance and fillings (no, not teeth fillings).
For example, T & T Supermarkets is a perfect example of the buns looking the part, but not necessarily tasting the part. For some reason, the flavour in T & T buns are a bit off (and greasy too). Maxim is a good example of a good balance between appearance, taste and value. It also is probably not the best bakery out there, but it a solid choice. Anna's is a no-risk place to get pastries as well. St. Germain is possibly one of the most expensive chain bakeries. However, somehow I find that their buns and pastries to be average. They look nice and all, but there isn't an abundance of filling and they don't taste much better than Maxim in my opinion. New Town is a bit more old school, but their apple tarts and egg tarts rock. I think New Town could be the best of the bunch. So where does that leave Pine House? I think Pine House looks the part. Well, except for the egg tart, it has a heavy crust and slightly sunken egg centre. I think the buns taste alright; but I do wish that they would put more filling in some of their pastries/buns (ie. more bbq pork, chicken or beef). With that being said, Pine House is still a decent choice if you have the Chinese pastry craving.
- Many locations in the GVRD
- Cakes are good
- Good selection
- Some good pastries/buns, some not-so-good
- Lack of filling
Pine House Bakery (Various Locations)
2462 Hastings Street
8:30am - 6:30pm (7 days a week)