While I have eaten many a late night meal in Toronto’s China Town (where the afterhours “tea” in the “teapot” may or may not have tasted remarkably like room temperature Labatt Blue;) I’ve never ventured into a China Town bakery. A quick social media search tells me Mashion is the freshest, tastiest and most modern place in town….although after also learning about Ding Dong Pastries just down the street….well, let’s just say they had me at Ding Dong, so two stops it is!
A quick few blocks south of College St and we were at the slightly run-down steps and steamy windows of Ding Dong Pastries. As I walked through the door, certain memories from my time in Japan came flooding back: Sugary baked goods that looked like jelly donuts but, as my sister found out when she came to visit, are likely filled with something more like curry – SURPRISE!!
Luckily all menu items at the Ding Dong had English labels, so no unexpected curry or BBQ pork donuts this time. Instead, I tried the following: A coconut tart, pineapple bun and paper cupcake. And true to the 6 for a $3 sign outside, total cash spent: $1.50
The coconut tart had a nice soft filling and good flavour, however the pastry tasted like maybe it had been in the freezer a little too long. I could not detect any pineapple flavour in the pineapple bun, however it was soft and fresh, and had a gentle crunchy sweetness on top that was quite pleasant. As for the paper cupcake…..I don’t know if this is the reason behind the name, but it was so light and airy I guess it could be compared with tissue paper perhaps..?? In any case, it was basically a plain white cake with toasted almonds – nothing too fancy, but again, it was pleasant.
Next stop: Mashion! First off, Mashion definitely stands out in China Town with its modern urban bakery look, i.e. brown and yellow signage with funky font and simple, clean lines inside the shop. In fact everything inside, from the pastry cases to the trays, just feels, for lack of a better term, new. Modern, new, however you want to describe it, the place seems to be drawing people in at a steady pace – so onwards to the food testing before they’re sold out!
I have to admit, I was nervous to try the egg tart but I felt it was the right thing to do, since this is a staple in Chinese sweets. And as I suspected, I’m not a fan. Apparently made of egg and butter, I couldn’t get past the taste of egg yolks, and it didn’t help that the texture reminded me of an actual egg yolk – it was all just a bit too rich for me. Having said that, the pastry was quite nice – fresh and flaky, so my guess is, it’s a quality egg tart – I just happen to not like egg tarts, as it turns out.
Next up – deep fried sesame ball with black bean paste filling:
Loved the toasted sesame seeds on the outside, and I did enjoy the black bean paste, although I wished there had been more of it. The dough was thick and a little chewy, and the oil definitely soaks into the dough during the deep fry, so I had a hard time finishing it for this reason. I also picked up….I couldn’t help it….a sweet curry bun! And it was de-licious. And how much did I spend at the Mashion? $1 folks. If you’re on a mat-leave budget and need a little sweet something, this is the place to experiment!
So all in all, I’d definitely recommend a trip to China Town to test out some sweet treats, and more specifically, I’d recommend the Mashion over the Ding Dong: Great selection, fresh tasting, and heck, the shop looks good.
345 Spadina Ave, Toronto
Tel. (647) 348-2866
Ding Dong Pastries
321 Spadina Ave, Toronto
Tel. (416) 640-2761