3 of my faves: pineapple buns, sweet rice cakes and pork shui mai

Family Pastry (5/5) Like every Chinese restaurant, every Chinese bakery has their own specialty. One might be great at BBQ buns and lousy at tarts while another reigns at steamed dumplings and fails at sponge cakes. To have a great experience, you need to know what to order.

Family Pastry has the best bo lo bau, aka pineapple buns, I’ve ever tasted. I’m talking better than any bakery in the San Gabriel Valley and, I dare say, better than any of the dozen or so I tried in Hong Kong. Anyone who knows me knows that there’s nothing better than Taiwanese slush or a fresh-from-the-oven pineapple bun to satisfy my post-meal sweet tooth.

Pineapple buns have nothing to do with pineapples other than in it’s appearance. It’s a sweet, soft bun, like the best squishiest Hawaiian sweet bread you’ve ever had, with a baked floury sugar topping. A Mexican “concha” if you will–but this Chinese cousin has a higher doughy squish factor.

The parameters for an amazing pineapple bun all have to do with texture, flavor and temperature. The texture here is always doughy at the bottom and crispy at the top. The best part is that Family Pastry isn’t stingy with the sugary top. It’s just sweet and thick enough so that you don’t feel like you got a poor bread to topping ratio. The flavor is surprisingly light, but satisfying. The best time to devour those golden mounds is when they come out straight from the oven. Order several, skip everything else unless the rice cakes are fresh (extra squishy).

This is in Chinatown, but luckily on a side street so finding metered parking out front is never a problem. If you want to be extra naughty, you can wash down your buns with one of the tastiest avocado shakes, made with real avocados, from Pho Palace 3 blocks up on the same street. Unbutton your jeans and enjoy.

Family Pastry, 715 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, 90012, 213-622-5255

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