The Best Pineapple Buns In The San Gabriel Valley
By Kristie Hang
So you've tackled dim sum and slurped up more than enough bowls of noodle soup in the San Gabriel Valley, but have you tried a pineapple bun? The traditional Cantonese pastry is popular in Hong Kong and Macau. The pastry does not actually contain any pineapple: the name stems from its sweet and crispy coat of golden brown checkers, reminiscent of a pineapple. If you have never tasted one before, a traditional pineapple bun tastes like a Hawaiian sweet bread topped with an even sweeter glazed crust that crumbles with each bite. (And if you've never tried one, watch this video so you can avoid Aziz Ansari's faux pas when trying one for the first time.)
Many bakeries and restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley have taken the popular pastry that was originally a breakfast and lunch food and given it a twist! Here's where to find them.
Lava mini pineapple tarts from Atlantic Seafood and Dim Sum Restaurant (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
LAVA MINI PINEAPPLE TARTSScrew the typical shrimp and pork dim sum, and bring on the soft pillow-like mini pineapple tarts. These pastries are filled with egg custard and salted duck egg yolk. Each order comes with three mini tarts. Be careful: if you take a big bite, you can really scorch your mouth.
Atlantic Seafood and Dim Sum Restaurant is located at 500 North Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park, (626) 872-0388
Traditional buns from Kee Wah Bakery (Photo by Jenny Yuen)
TRADITIONAL PINEAPPLE BUNS WITH AMPLE FLAVORSKee Wah Bakery has a whopping five varieties of pineapple buns: original, milk powder, shredded coconut, BBQ pork and custard. Their breads are much bigger in size—and much more filling—than the miniature versions typically found in modern dim sum restaurants. Each bread is sold individually.
Kee Wah Bakery is located at 150 West Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, (626) 280-2515
Fusion flavor at D’ange Bakery (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
FUSION BUNSIf you really want to try something different, try one of D'ange Bakery’s chocolate or taro pineapple buns. The chocolate pineapple bun has a chocolate filling inside and the taro one has, yes, a taro filling. You won’t find the traditional pineapple bun at this bakery at all.
D'ange Bakery is located at 800 West Las Tunas Drive in San Gabriel, (626) 282-0808
Domies Bakery provides pineapple buns to many Hong Kong-style restaurants in the area (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
TRADITIONAL FAVORITEDomies has many fans in the area. They are the supplier to many of the Hong Kong-style restaurants in San Gabriel Valley. Domies Bakery has five different varieties of pineapple bread: original, BBQ pork, shredded coconut, custard and salty duck egg yolk. The standout bread is their original, which is actually made a bit thicker than other bakeries'. This is the pineapple bun for traditionalists who consider pineapple buns a breakfast and lunch food instead of a snack or dessert. You can eat the original flavor Hong Kong-style—cut in half and served with a large slab of butter in between as a hearty meal.
Domies Bakery is located at 7609 E Garvey Avenue in Rosemead, (626) 280-3085
Elite Restaurant's take on the pineapple bun (Photo used with the permission of Joyce C.)
PINEAPPLE-CRUSTED CHICKEN BUNS
Although Elite Restaurant has mini pineapple buns with no filling inside, their standout pineapple bun is their pineapple-crusted chicken bun. It tastes like a Hawaiian sweet bun with a chicken potpie filling inside. A delicious combination of salty and sweet! Each order comes with three miniature buns.
Elite Restaurant is located at 700 South Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park, (626) 282-9998
The signature egg custard and salted duck egg yolk at Monterey Palace Café (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
EGG CUSTARD AND SALTED DUCK YOLK BALLS
Filling buns at Lincoln Seafood (Photo by Pam Lee via Instagram)
The egg custard and salted duck egg yolk filling are also the signature dish at Monterey Palace Café. Their version is shaped into a mini ball. Don't tell your doctor because this is definitely a cholesterol-raiser, but I guarantee it’s worth the risk. Each order comes with three mini buns.Monterey Palace Café is located at 1001 East Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park, (626) 571-0888
SATISFYING PINEAPPLE BREADS
Want to get full just by eating Pineapple Bread? Lincoln Seafood has 3 types of pineapple buns: original, BBQ pork, and shredded coconut. Pineapple buns from Lincoln are bigger than the miniature versions usually found at dim sum restaurants. They most definitely do not skimp out on stuffing, and their bread is very filling.
Lincoln Seafood Restaurant is located at 123 South Lincoln Avenue in Monterey Park, (626) 571-0088
King Hua has delicious miniature pineapple buns (Photo by Alvin C via Foursquare)
MINI PINEAPPLE BUNS WITH FILLINGS
King Hua has miniature pineapple buns with BBQ pork, chicken and ones with no filling. The standout pineapple bun at King Hua is the BBQ pork: tasty and bite-sized, these pineapple buns come in threes and are sure to leave you asking for more.
King Hua Restaurant is located at 2000 West Main Street in Alhambra, (626) 282-8833
The Boroh Danish at 85C Bakery (Photo by Leiti Hsu via Twitter)
PINEAPPLE DANISHES85C Bakery only has one flavor of pineapple bun, but they made up for their lack of options by giving their bun a fancy name. Known as the Boroh Danish, it is described as a crispy pineapple shaped Danish bun with a delicious layer of sweet butter coating.
85C Degrees Bakery is located at 2626 East Garvey Ave in West Covina, (626) 915-7885
Here's a Taiwanese take on the pineapple bun (Photo used with the permission of Lili S.)
TAIWANESE STYLE PINEAPPLE BUNLocated across from the popular Ding Tai Fung Dumpling House, JJ Bakery has long been a delicious pastry and dessert staple in Arcadia. Their plain and simple traditional pineapple buns are fluffy, sweet and filling.
JJ Bakery is located at 1130 South Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia, (626) 836-6888
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kristie Hang is an avid world traveler that spends 3 months a year in Asia. She has an affinity for bizarre foods and is also the co-founder of the 626 Foodettes Blog, a hyperlocal food blog highlighting culinary options in the San Gabriel Valley. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.