Sunday, March 7, 2010

Every bun under the sun

After a week of eating in — no easy feat, I discovered — I'm posting about one of my favorite takeout places.When you live at the intersection of Chinatown and Little Italy in one of Canada’s best food cities, a culinary experience waits around every corner.

Saint Honoré, a traditional Hong Kong–style bakery, lives just two blocks away from me on Booth Street in Ottawa. If you think France has the market cornered when it comes to pastry, you’re missing out on some of the best creations that Chinese cuisine has to offer. This tiny shop is jam-packed with Chinese and Western-influenced buns; most for under a dollar.

If you try only one thing at Saint Honoré, make it a coconut bun. It’s their most popular (or prolific) flavor, as there are no fewer than five varieties of coconut bun available at any given time. My favourite is known simply as “coconut bun” (or in its much larger form, “coconut twist”). It’s like a cinnamon bun, but the filling is a crumbly shredded coconut and coconut cream combination, and it’s topped with sesame seeds. I tried this type of bun at a party a couple of years ago and was instantly hooked. I’ve eaten more than my share of coconut buns since, and Saint Honoré’s are the best I’ve tried. (Their bun boxes are quite fashionable as well.)

Other bun flavors include: BBQ pork, fried hot dog (a.k.a. heart attack on a bun), curry beef, ham and cheese, ham and egg, tuna (a.k.a. the comfort bun), chili, mixed vegetable, custard, red bean, hazelnut and pineapple, to name a few. (Yeah, that’s only naming a few.)

Thanks for reading about one of my latest food obsessions. I hope this has encouraged you to seek out some new food experiences in your neighborhood. It may just expand your culinary horizons.




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