The first Kee Wah Bakery appeared in Hong Kong in 1938, where its moon cakes, bridal cakes, and other pastries gradually generated a loyal clientele. In 1985, when much of that clientele had migrated to the United States, Kee Wah set down new roots in LA to offer its signature floury goods to Californians. Patrons pick from egg tarts, crispy squares, and pineapple crust buns using a self-serve bakery system, which is refilled with fresh breads baked three times a day. During the autumn, when the Chinese Lunar Festival is in full swing, the bakery churns out moon cakes filled with lotus seed and red-bean paste. The shop's three locations in the San Gabriel Valley—Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Rowland Heights—help meet the demand for Chinese wedding cakes and almond cookies throughout the valley.
The original Beard Papa’s began filling the airs of Osaka, Japan, with the warm, wafting smells of its original-recipe cream puffs. A double-layer puff featuring piecrust on the outside and a mixture of vanilla custard cream and whipped cream on the inside, the successful little treats have led the bakery to expand to more than 300 locations throughout Southeast Asia, Russia, the United States, and the moon. The venerable bakery has also graduated to other pint-size desserts and Asian-influenced treats, including mochi ice cream and mango ice showers, a fusion of shaved ice, layered sweet sauce, and mango chunks.
Tea Bar Cafe’s menu is stuffed with Asian-style cuisine and a large selection of boba teas, slushies, shaved ice, and other delicious treats. Fend off a malicious appetite with stinky tofu ($4.75)—the popular and odoriferous dish of fermented tofu—or a serving of fried squid balls ($4.25). Plenty of entrees are available to silence a belly button that won’t stop yapping, such as teppan pork ($6.99) or a fried chicken filet rice set served with black pepper and mushrooms ($6.99).
Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.
One of Sugar and Spice Bakery's cupcakes is like an edible choose-your-own-adventure novel. The customer guides every step of its creation, starting by selecting mini, regular, or jumbo cupcakes. Next, they pick one of 11 flavors—such as spice or vanilla—and decide on fillings such as banana cream. They then opt for cream-cheese, peanut-butter, or housemade buttercream icing. Final touches might include sprinkles and slices of strawberry.
Sugar and Spice's talented bakers use the same ingredients to create round and sheet cakes, which present larger canvases for designs. Icing and fondant transform into superheroes, logos of favorite sports teams, or even a photograph of the birthday boy or girl.