Sherman's Food Adventures: New Town Bakery

New Town Bakery

The Chinese bakery. It is a staple of the Vancouver food scene. Sure, it ain't sexy and quite often dive-like. However, the lure of BBQ pork buns for less than $1.00 (well, most places) usually seals the deal. I have to give props to Whipping Girl (see Morton's), for reminding me about New Town Bakery. In my previous post about Pine House, I originally left out New Town. It's probably out of sight, out of mind for me. I haven't been there since I was a lot younger. I've been on a steady diet of Maxim Bakery products instead. Yah I know, shame on me. Maxim was once the king of the hill; but with so many better choices, it can only be seen as the McD's of the Chinese bakery world.

I revisited the Chinatown location on my way home from downtown. There are 3 other locations on Cambie, Richmond and Surrey. The outside of New Town is definitely old school; no fancy or trendy decor here. Also, the buns and pastries have a traditional old school look to them as well. What I noticed right away was that the buns and pastries were larger than most other places. Thus, the price is a bit higher too. Naturally, I was afflicted by the usual "order too much" syndrome again. I think I got like 18 buns and pastries. I got the Bor Lor Bao (pineapple bun), Gai May Bao (cocktail bun), both Baked and Steamed Char Sui Bao (BBQ pork bun) and Dan Tat (egg tart). The really large egg tart was steaming hot and I ate one right away. The crust was flaky and thin, while the egg filling was semi-sweet and very light. This is one of the best egg tarts I've had lately. The cocktail bun was the full-size type, unlike the mini ones that exist at most of the other Chinese bakeries in the GVRD. The bun itself has a slightly chewy consistency, which reminds me of my youth (man, that sounds like a line from the original Iron Chef!). The filling was sweet coconut goodness! The BBQ pork bun had adequate filling and again, the bun was slightly chewy. I thought the baked BBQ pork tasted quite good, it was not too sweet like many other places; in fact, it has a bit of savory taste to it. The steamed BBQ pork bun had the same filling; but encased in a fluffy steamed bun. The pineapple bun (even though there is no pineapple in it, the top just looks like a pineapple) was very good, the topping was a bit crusty and not soft (I hate mushy pineapple buns). It was crumble-all-over-the-place goodness.

On a return visit, I got some of their famous Apple Tarts. Flaky, not too sweet and filled with apple bits, these are a must eat. Another fan favourite is the Dai Bao (or big bun) which has an interesting mix of pork, veggies, salted duck egg yolk and ham. It's big as the name implies and very filling. Despite the fact you are paying a bit more at New Town, it is well worth it. The size and taste of the products are superior to many of the new bakeries around. Visiting New Town Bakery is like visiting an old friend; you're always happy to see them, it's familiar and it brings back good memories.

The Good:
- Buns and pastries are large
- Everything looks and tastes the part
- It has that old school feel to it

The Bad:
- A bit more expensive than other bakeries
- Not a huge selection when compared to other bakeries

New Town Bakery
158 East Pender Street
Vancouver, B.C.

Business Hours:
6:30am - 8:30pm (Thu - Tue)
6:30am - 7:00pm (Wed)

New Town Bakery & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Wendy said...

Oooh I love the Richmond location of this place. They have this chewy tapioca cake thing that is only 79cents. My aunt loves their huge meat-filled steamed buns.

Anonymous said...

New Town Bakery is most famous for their "dai bao" (literal translation: big bun). I think you know what I am talking about. Next time you go there, try the Chicken Deluxe.

Sherman said...

Yes yes, you are both right. I need to eat more New Town! I can't believe I forgot about them!

Ada said...

I also think they make the best buns in town! And "dai bao" is actually my favourite if I am hungry!

Anonymous said...

Best place for chinese buns. They were voted for best chinese bakery in the vancouver sun the last couple years too i think. Mmm Dai Bao!! Love the apple tarts!

Anonymous said...

Does Dai bao have a different meaning??

Sherman said...

Dai Bao, literally translated means "big bun". It's merely a big steamed rice flour bun packed with salted egg, bbq pork and minced pork.