Asian-Inspired Pastries at Oh My Pan Bakery and Tea

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Asian pastries are a special breed of dessert. They’re spongier than their Western counterparts; less sweet; the frosting is lighter and the flavors are arguably more eclectic. Bread-making was adopted in Asia by way of the West and exploded in areas like Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, where the pastry chefs developed their own brand of bread.

“The leavening agents are the same, but Asian bread, also known as a type of sweet bread, is more rich in butter,” Jonathan Chen, owner and chef at Oh My Pan said. Flour with lower gluten content also contributes to the distinctive texture.

Born in Taiwan, Chen is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and worked as a pastry cook at InterContinental Hotels for three years before deciding to open Oh My Pan Bakery and Tea in San Gabriel. Pan is the Japanese word for bread.

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Located on the corner of Valley Boulevard and San Gabriel Boulevard, Oh My Pan is a relatively small operation. Free Wi-Fi makes it an idyllic study spot, but the main draw is really the smorgasbord of flavors on tap. Chen apprenticed at various bakeries in Taiwan and his creations reflect that. While the bakery faces competition from larger establishments like 85C Bakery Cafe, the main draw here is the quality.

Marbled taro and banana chocolate buns the size of Frisbees sit side-by-side in the cases. The taro bread is stuffed with a thick taro paste swirled with a sweet egg custard. There’s a fantastic green tea bun sprinkled with toasted almond and infused with red bean and taro. If that concept is too wacky-sounding, give the mozzarella- and sausage-stuffed bread colored with cuttlefish ink and topped with Doritos crumbles a try. Their best seller is the sea salt coffee bread. One bite into it and you’ll get why sweet coffee cream spiked with the alkaline taste of sea salt is such a hit.

Oh My Pan rotates among 50 flavors of bread and 25 assortments of miniature cakes on a daily basis. They also have a fantastic drink menu of fruit-infused teas and boba milk teas.

Read the full column here.

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