It’s always fun to visit the suburbs/neighborhoods to experience their charms and vibes. To me, this is especially the case here on the island. Hence, I was inspired to pen a post about my foodie moment in a short visit to a neighborhood and share a glimpse of the Lion City’s traditional bakery scene.
On a blissfully-sunny morning, I took a trip to a neighborhood called Bishan in the island’s Central Region. Vintage vibes from the architecture and the sights and sounds of local life greet visitors from different corners of the island. Whenever I am in that neck of the woods, I tend to wander around the main shopping center or indulge my inner bookworm in the collection of books in the large library building. This time, I was feeling a tad adventurous and decided to explore an area that I had yet to visit, but had seen during my bus rides to the neighborhood’s bus interchange.
While exiting the bus, I felt like I was stepping out of a time machine! The bus interchange, which began operating in 1989, retains its 80’s look but it is well-maintained. My favorite part about places (like this) that are ‘hidden gems’ is the food – local delicacies are aplenty with food courts and small bakeries.
It turned out that I didn’t have to venture too far out to find some yummy eats. All I had to do was to cross the road after alighting the bus and head to Block 513, which is right next to the bus interchange. Completed in 1989 as well, the building’s character comes alive through its design details – especially with its terracotta-looking roof and brick facade, which are contrasts to most newer buildings.
A Visit To The Bakery
Bakeries in the Lion City are a treat for the eyes and the taste buds. My favorite part about visiting local bakeries (apart from eventually feasting on my delicious haul) is the fun shopping experience. I was certainly delighted to see the nice spread of breads and buns at the bakery I visited, named Baker Talent.
Bakeries here tend to operate in a self-serve fashion, whereby you get to browse around the shop at a leisurely pace (unless you are on a quick breakfast run early on weekday mornings) with a plastic tray and a pair of tongs in-hand to add buns, pastries and sliced cakes to your tray. The foods that don’t require the trays are typically in the tear-and-share category as they are pre-wrapped.
All of the baked goodies looked very tempting! In the end, my haul comprised of a trio of buns.
Mini Sausage Buns
My little feast began with the mini sausage buns. Sausage (a.k.a. hot dog) bun rolls are greatly cherished in the traditional baking scene – they are available in virtually every local bakery. If there is a hall of fame for baked eats in this region, the sausage bun is a member.
This fluffy baked delight is a soft bun roll with a chicken hot dog inside. The bun and sausage duo are baked together, and the flavors represent the foodie definition of “simplicity at its finest”. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is visiting the island as an introduction to local breads. The flavors are very simple, but they are superb. These mini sausage buns in particular are delicious!
Garlic bun is another common find in bakeries here, or at least in the bakeries I visit. Each bakery has its own spin on regular garlic bread through using different kinds of breads while retaining garlic bread’s garlicky glory.
This bun in particular comprises of a garlic mixture on top of a bun loaf, and the inside features the bun on its own. It smells divinely garlicky, but not in an overpowering sense. It isn’t as intense as regular garlic bread, but it has a lovely garlic flavor and the bun is super soft and fluffy.
Charcoal Chocolate Bun
Last but certainly not the least is a sweet pick: a loaf of charcoal chocolate buns. Not only do charcoal breads look cool (or some might say ‘gothic’), their appearances are illusions to the foodie senses!
Tasting the bun sans the filling, I was half-expecting to detect chocolate’s bold presence as the bun’s midnight hue matches the shade of dark chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage. The taste is similar to regular buns, but my taste buds did detect a subtle edge in the flavor which I couldn’t put my finger on to identify precisely. It is certainly tricky to pinpoint and describe charcoal’s flavor, much like my previous charcoal food adventure.
To me, the bun and chocolate filling are a match made in bun heaven. The smooth chocolate filling is almost custard-like, and it shines with bold cocoa notes that remind me of both dark chocolate and baking chocolate.
I certainly enjoyed exploring this bakery! I can’t wait to explore more local bakeries and taste their delicious fare.