Founded in 2003, 85°C Bakery Cafe is a popular bakery chain that specializes in a variety of Taiwanese pastries and beverages. Some of its most popular pastries include the famous 85°C egg tarts, cheese dogs, matcha red bean rolls and pork sung buns. Since 2003, 85°C Bakery Cafe has expanded from Taiwan to China, Hong Kong, Australia and the U.S. with over 1,000 locations worldwide. Known as the “Starbucks of Taiwan,” the bakery cafe chain rose in popularity because of their famous sea salt coffee, a caffè americano topped with a frothy sea salt cream at the top.
Over the weekend, I took a trip down to the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles, where you can find Asian food on almost every street you drive down. Since there aren’t really any amazing Asian food options near UCSB, I always make it my mission to buy and devour all the Asian food that I have back home when I visit L.A. One of my go-to spots for pastries and tea is 85°C Bakery Cafe because of their delicious pastries that I can bring back to school to snack on during study breaks and their amazing sea salt beverages that I literally crave everyday.
When you enter the bakery, there’s a whole section of self-serve shelves with an endless variety of different breads, cakes, and other pastries to choose from. Here are some of my favorites:
- 85°C Egg Tart: Egg tarts are traditionally made with a cookie-like pastry on the outside and filled with egg custard, but 85°C makes theirs Portuguese-style with puff pastry and a custard filling that browns in the oven. The creamy custard filling caramelizes perfectly and goes amazingly with the flakey puff pastry, making it a perfect little snack.
- Pork Sung Bun: Pork sung is dried pork meat that has a fluffy texture similar to cotton. At 85°C, they take a plain white bread bun, cover it with a mayo spread and top it off with the savory pork sung. It is very light and soft, making it a simple yet delicious bun.
- Hokkaido Cheese Tart: Similar to the 85°C Egg Tart, these are the same shape, but taste like cheesecake. They’re basically just fun-sized cheesecakes, need I say more?
- Cheese Dog: This is a fun twist on your ordinary hot dog because the sausage is wrapped by a fluffy bun topped with cheddar and mozzarella cheese and baked with ketchup, mayo and parsley. It’s packed with so much flavor, you don’t even need any condiments to go with this hot dog.
- Calamari Stick: This is a small, soft bun dyed black with squid ink and filled with mozzarella cheese. On the outside, it’s brushed with garlic butter and topped with minced garlic for extra flavor. Don’t be weirded out by the black color of the bun, it just tastes like regular bread.
After choosing your pastries, you pay at the cash register where they individually wrap your bread and you can also purchase drink orders at that time. The Sea Salt Coffee is very popular, and they even have special promotions where they’re only $0.85 on Mondays. My personal favorite is the Sea Salt Mountain Top Green Tea. The sea salt really brings out the sweetness of the tea and it’s always fun to swirl your drink and see the sea salt foam mix with the green tea. Another drink I like is the Iced Matcha Latte made with whole milk and matcha powder. The sweetness level is just right so that you can really taste the matcha flavor. Aside from these beverages, customers can also choose from different coffees, milk teas and even slushes.
85°C Bakery Cafe is the perfect place to grab a drink and munch on yummy pastries. Everything is so cute and delicious that you’ll want to try it all! They come out with so many new and creative breads, cakes and drinks that really set them apart from other bakeries. So the next time you stop by the L.A. area, be sure to grab some bread and boba, or if you’re like me, stock up with an entire box of pastries to bring back to Santa Barbara.
Winnie Lam currently serves as the On The Menu Co-Editor. She has been apart of the Nexus since 2017.