San Gabriel Valley's bakery onslaught continues with the opening of Bake Code, a Taiwanese company that specializes in artisanal breads that combine Asian flavors with European and Japanese influences.
If you’re having déjà vu, there’s a reason. SGV's bread scene is booming as Asia-based chains arrive to stake out a share of the U.S. market. The same weekend that Singapore-based Duke Bakery opened their first U.S. location in Rowland Heights, Taiwan's Bake Code Bakery & Café opened their first U.S. location in San Gabriel.
Located in busy Focus Plaza, Bake Code is a brand of La Kaffa International, the company behind the popular Chatime boba tea houses, which has locations in San Gabriel and Arcadia. Since opening the first Bake Code last year, the brand has expanded to 10 locations including ones in Taiwan, Malaysia, Canada and Australia.
Both China and Taiwan have long, rich histories with baking. This quickly becomes apparent when driving through the SGV, where small, independent bakeries and local chains dot the streets. In 2008, Taiwanese mega chain 85°C Bakey Café opened its first U.S. location in Orange County and arrived in the eastern SGV with a Hacienda Heights location three years later. In the four years since, they’ve expanded to 15 California outlets, including additional L.A. County locations in West Covina and Pasadena.
The approach of each of these bakeries is similar, with Asian flavors — lychee, longan, red bean, green tea, taro and goji (a.k.a. wolfberry) among them — invading European and Japanese-style artisanal breads. Traditionally, Asian desserts are far less sweet than their Western counterparts, but the baked goods here have gotten sweeter. Savory breads and buns are also staples.
While there is some overlap, certain breads are unique to each bakery. At Bake Code, the notables include the Mentaiko Baguette, a buttered baguette with fish roe (there are chocolate, cranberry or traditional French versions as well), and the Earl Grey Tea Bread, made with tea leaves and cream-filled. Chocolate, walnuts, cream cheese, cranberries, blueberries and mangoes figure, in various combinations, into other bread selections.
Like 85°C, Bake Code has a beverage menu of coffees and teas (their fruit teas contain chunks of fresh fruit). And like at Duke Bakery, you can sample the bread selections before making your choices (which can be bagged to go or eaten at the on-site seating).
Bake Code's future plans call for additional locations in Rowland Heights and Orange County.
Bake Code Bakery & Café, 140 W. Valley Blvd., Unit 101, San Gabriel; (626) 288-5118.