There’s a new bakery in town — and it's straight from Singapore. Duke Bakery opened its first U.S. outlet this past Sunday at Diamond Plaza in Rowland Heights. The bakery was started by a Taiwanese pastry chef and sells artisanal breads that combine European and Japanese influences.
Founded by Allen Tsai, who left Taiwan to train under baking masters in Japan, France and Germany, Duke Bakery opened its first outlet in October 2013 in Singapore and has since expanded to twelve locations: 10 in Singapore, one in China and now one in the U.S.
Taking the softness of Japanese-style breads and the European technique of using fermented fruit-based yeasts, Duke Bakery has an impressive selection of breads including Chocola Cheese, a rich, chocolate ring filled with a strip of cream cheese; Carlbell and Forlona Bread, both of which use cranberries, the former with cream cheese; Okinawa Brown Sugar; and Yam Angel, which features yam paste.
You can also buy savory breads. Vegetable and Cheese Bun is made with onion powder and condensed milk. Longan & Red Wine combines the longan fruit with a rich, red wine flavor. And the Hokkaido Double Cheese contains garlic, cheese, walnuts and dried scallion. Another of the more than 60 options worth mentioning is Chinese Wolfberry Bread, with mixed nuts, raisins and, of course, wolfberry, which you might know better by its other name: goji.
If you've spent time around San Gabriel Valley bakeries, the layout is familiar. A large wooden island is filled with various breads while wooden shelves around the sides contain fresh buns and loaves. Grab a tray and tongs, slide open the plastic door and select out your bounty.
A second area outlet will open in Arcadia April 12, and according to one of the co-owners David Chao, plans are in the works for locations in Pasadena, Irvine and downtown L.A.
Duke Bakery: 1370 Fullerton Road, Rowland Heights; (626) 839-0288.