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Korean Bakeries and Kpop Cafes

February 11, 2015

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Oh man. This week’s TL;DR was a difficult one for us to do. Bread: it’s so important to us, and we didn’t know how much we missed it until we started living in Korea. Bread: it’s something that’s become so trendy in Korea, but something that’s still not done right, by our standards. But those are just our standards. I wonder if Korean people go overseas and eat bread and thing “gross! This is too savoury!” Hmmm. That’s something I’d love to know!

You know what’s surprising, though? We don’t have this complaint in Japan. The bakeries we went to in Japan were AMAZING. They all use butter, SO MUCH BUTTER! Korea…doesn’t really use butter. Korean croissants are really dry and sad. We had the second best croissant of our lives in Tokyo, in fact. You could count all the folded over layers, and it was so moist and baaaaagggghh it was divine. The best croissant we ever had, believe it or not, was in Amsterdam, at a bakery that was close to our AirBNB. Paris had disappointing croissants, oddly, from the places we visited. Maybe we just didn’t find the right places? Point is, Japan and Korea are similar in many ways, but we infinitely prefer Japan’s baking culture to Korea’s, and I don’t know how they got to be so different.

Something else that interests us in Paris Baguette’s attempt at expansion. It’s even opened up a location in, get this, Paris, but French people find Paris Baguette awful. Paris Baguette doesn’t offer French food, but Korean people who have never experienced French food don’t know that. If any of you watched Bugs Bunny back in the day, you might remember that hasenpfeffer episode, in which the king demands hasenpfeffer, and Bugs Bunny gives him a carrot, which the king happily eats, while thinking that it’s hasenpfeffer and not knowing that it isn’t. Just like how people think they’re eating Japanese sushi when they eat California Rolls, Paris Baguette has made an entire industry off of this same premise. It’s marketed to Korean people as an authentic French experience, with it being called “Paris Baguette” and with logos including the Eiffel Tower in it.

So why would Paris Baguette open up a location in Paris? Our guess: advertising, that’s why. Paris Baguette isn’t the only Korean bakery pretending to be French. Tons of others have donned French names in order to appear to be French. Hell, even today we went past a Korean bakery that sells Korean baked goods, yet it calls itself Malmaison, and has French written all over its sign. So what will make Paris Baguette stand out from the many imposters of the original imposter? Well, Paris Baguette now has a bakery in Paris, that’s what! How many others can say the same?

Oh man: there’s so much to say about Paris Baguette. Read their official brochure, and how they distribute the freshest of frozen dough. HOW THE HELL IS FROZEN DOUGH FRESH? Am I not up to date with baking standards and practices? If a company makes all the dough in a factory, freezes it, and then ships it out to stores where they can be defrosted and then baked, THAT’S NOT FRESH! Paris Baguette is to French Bakeries what Hot Pockets are to Italian Calzones. You’re a microwave dinner, Paris Baguette.

OK ENOUGH RANTING. There’s hope for us in Korea, still! We’ve definitely started finding more bakeries lately that cater to our sensibilities than before. We remember when Home Plus starting selling bread when we first came to Korea, and how surprised we were. Even though it wasn’t what we were expecting, we were still excited. But now we’ve got places in Seoul that we can go to when the going gets tough. Here are a few:

Publique

For those of you who have been following us for a while, you might remember the video we did in Fell & Cole for awesome ice cream in Hongdae. Well, right on the same street leading up to Fell & Cole (one of our favourite areas of Hongdae) is Publique. HOLY CRAP! I just remembered an older video we did ages ago, before we started doing WANKs, in which we were exploring Hongdae and we actually went to Publique. Well, there you go. Two videos that show you the area Publique is in, and one in which we actually enter Publique. Whoa: that video was way before we had the Eatyourkimchi Studio. So odd!

Anyhow, Publique is a reliable go-to shop for us whenever we need bread. Sure, it’s pricy, but some days we need a good, crusty loaf, and they do it right. You can find it here on Google Maps. It’s close to the studio as well. Yay!

Paul and Paulina

This one is a lot easier to go to when you’re in Hongdae. If you’re at the top of the hill that leads up to the university, and you’re looking at the university, turn left. It’s on the side street that Starbucks is on (and the new Paris Baguette, speaking of which). A few steps down that side street and you’ll see Paul & Paulina. It serves good croissants and nice loaves of bread, though the prices aren’t for the faint of heart. That doesn’t stop it from having huge lines most of the time we go there, though! Still, if you really need some bread, this place is a safe bet for you :D

The Bakers Table

We don’t go to Itaewon often. Most of the time it’s for vet appointments for Meemers, but whenever we do go, we stop by The Bakers Table to pick up bread. They’ve got lots of great loaves there. It’s also a restaurant, and serves some pretty wicked sandwiches, that we sometimes sit for as well, but it seems like every time we go it’s crazy packed, so we just pick up a couple of loaves and go back on our way. You get more bread for your buck here than you do in the first two locations as well. Check em out on Facebook

So, yeah, that’s it for our bread sources. If you’re living in Korea and have some that you go to, PLEASE SHARE! We need to stick together on this! Otherwise, we’d love to know what bread culture is like where you’re from, and if you felt picky about the bread when you visited other places. Anyone else try bakeries in both Korea and Japan and feel the same way? Let us know!

Lastly, I’m sure comments will pop up now like “Oh! Simon and Martina make fun of Korean bread without knowing how to cook in Korean fluently,” which we’ll respond by saying “yeah, we cook Korean food, too, all the time” but then they’ll respond by saying “yeah, but you do so with terrible accents seasoning. You have to be able to cook Korean food perfectly before you can talk about Korea making non-Korean food!” I’m sure :D

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Korean Bakeries and Kpop Cafes

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  1. Oh man. I feel you guys so much. I miss my grandmother’s homemade bread daily. It’s like no other bread I’ve tasted.

    I definitely agree with Paris Baguette. It’s also ridiculously over priced and people pay for the silly brand name. Instead of PB, I have been going to the chain Indoven recently for their loafs of bread and pretty good baguettes.

    Have you visited the French Village (서래마을) near Express Bus Terminal? It’s a short street filled with authentic bakeries and wonderful small restaurants. Very few foreigners here in Korea know about it so it would be fun to see a FAPFAP. :)

    4 years ago
    • We’ve heard about it, and read about it, but haven’t actually gone yet. We’ve read…mixed reactions, and I’m worried if we go we’ll be disappointed. Hmm…

      4 years ago
      • It really is dissapointing. I remember going to the french village and I didn’t get much of a french vibe at all. Not that the area wasn’t nice. I just think you have to search hard to find the best places. I don’t think the area itself is bad to visit but I think if you expect to get an experience of landing in a french street, you are not going to get it.

        4 years ago
  2. I’d die without fresh bread _french here _ haha, that’s the food I miss the most when going to foreign countries ^^

    And here’s a question for TL:DR :
    I talked with a chinese exchange studient about the one-child policy in china a few days ago (cause I didn’t know much about it, so that was the occasion to ask) and I was a little shocked to hear about the consequences of this policy. I was wondering if there were any policy, law, etc. that would be considered extreme/making non-sense in foreign countries (or even to koreans)?
    Bye ! :D

    4 years ago
  3. So far haven’t been to any Paris Baguette yet haha but Tous Les Jours instead. btw can you do a tl;dr on how tourists/foreigners can use or gain access to mobile service/phones in korea? im going there on march and it ‘s really interesting to know, thank you!

    4 years ago
    • Hey! I’m going there on march as well, i’m gonna be really lonely so I hope I can make some friends in advance lol are you gonna stay in seoul?

      4 years ago
    • im interested on this too, please do S&M :)

      4 years ago
    • Tous Les Jours is another sad place to go to for bread. Or their bread here in the Philippines is waaay too oily. And dry.

      4 years ago
    • I am staying here for 9 months, so I had to get a new phone number and data. It was the worst experience so far here.
      At least for longer stays the phone company brand “Olleh” started selling pre-paid stuff. It works ok, but you really need a korean speaking person to help with the translating and general fuss. It took 1.5 hours to get it done. -_-
      The rates are fair enough, so that’s not so bad.
      I’m sorry I can’t help you better, but if you find yourself a local (or more experienced foreigner) you’ll be fine.

      4 years ago
  4. AAAAGH NOW I’M HUNGRY! D;

    I live in a very small town in Sweden (under 1,000 people) and there’s 5 bakeries! Not counting the ones right outside of town. ._. I’ve been to all the ones in town but my favorite one has these perfect fluffy, light, flavorful sourdough crisps that are to die for. But their cupcakes are even more amazing. <3

    My mom actually owned a little cafe/bakery in the town we used to live in, but when we moved she sold it. Business was great and we had lots of regulars but I'm actually glad she sold it because I was getting chubby from all the food lol. xD Coincidentally, she actually wants to open a new one but hasn't decided yet.

    When I go to Korea, I promise I'll bring you guys plenty of cheese and bread!! :( I can't imagine life without cheese or bread. ;A; That's a nightmare! HANG ON, MARTINA! DON'T GO TOWARDS THE LIGHT!!

    4 years ago
  5. This video is pure gold! Aaah, Korea and their ‘bread’. :D

    As a Norwegian with our dense bread that could knock someone unconscious, it was quite a culture shock to come to Korea. Both me and my fiancé is that stereotypical Norwegian that eats bread for every single meal except dinner. We went to so many bakeries to find a type of bread that’s similar to home that I lost count. Light and fluffy bread will mess up most Scandinavian’s digestion in the blink of an eye, and you want to avoid that at all cost when on a ‘romantic holiday’. I thought we had hit jackpot when we found Paris Baguette, only to be met by… CAKES and other pastry. Excatly where have they hidden their baguettes? I just remember taking two steps inside, shaking my head and turning on my heel with a huge NOPE! Haha.

    After a few days of searching and grumpy stomachs from too much rice we stumbled upon ‘Long Bread Sandwich Bar’, an orcanic café that serves traditional panini and sandwiches, located at the corner of Lotte Young Plaza in Myeongdong. They (supposedly) make their own bread, soup, dressing sauce, pesto and we even watched them press orange juice. It was like coming home. Or to heaven… All depending on the state of how distressed our digestion system was. We ate breakfast there every day for the rest of our stay. :’)

    http://i.imgur.com/TACrlvd.jpg

    4 years ago
  6. I LOVE how many in-depth bread comments I am seeing right now :’)

    4 years ago
  7. Sooo, what you’re saying is that there is a wonderful opportunity for some enterprising individual/s living in Korea to start a North American style bakery to satiate the needs of the North American expat community.

    4 years ago
  8. My husband and I want to visit Korea or Japan but we are very hesitant on it. We both have an intolerance to fish and shellfish. Its not deadly but it is very uncomfortable. How well would someone with seafood allergies fair in Korea or Japan or other Asian cultures?

    4 years ago
  9. Bread culture here in Germany is very big, in fact there are more than 300 varieties of bread ( I don’t think that this even includes bread rolls). At a normal bakery you can get everything from white bread, french baguettes to really dark rye bread made with sourdough, sunflower seed bread and my personal favourite Pumpernickel (seriously, try it, it’s great with Nutella or cheese). German bread culture is even about to be made UNESCO world heritage.
    I already get withdrawal symptoms when I’m on vacation in Italy, so there is no way I would survive without my savoury, savoury bread in Korea.

    4 years ago
    • You’re totally right! Being a German it is so hard to get decent bread in many other countries. For me and my particular taste in bread even buying bread in Austria, where I study, is difficult. They don’t have bad bread, theirs is just a little different (I believe it is often with quite a lot rye…I’m not absolutely sure, though).
      After what Simon and Martina said I suppose a German trying to get good bread in Korea for the first time would end up crying on the floor of a bakery.

      4 years ago
  10. As a French person who grew up in Canada, I can say that bread, especially like the traditional baguette, is not as good there as it is in France. However, it is probably not as bad as what I already expect to find when I’ll go to Korea and judg-I mean try (n_n’) Tous Les Jours or Paris Baguette.
    When I came back to France, I actually found an even bigger difference in terms of taste and quality in the pastries. In Canada, you can find French pastries like éclairs, mille-feuilles or croissants and pains au chocolat, but they don’t taste nearly as good as the ones in France. But there are other yummy things in Canada that I miss.
    When it comes to croissant, I understand why you said that most of the ones you tried in Paris weren’t that good. I find that, although a croissant is the most basic french pastry, it’s getting harder and harder to find really good ones. For instance, the ones sold at the closest bakery to my home are not very good; I have to go to another bakery just a bit further to find croissants that are not as heavy and actually taste good.

    Fun fact – but you might have heard it before: in France, a bakery can only be called bakery (“boulangerie”) if the products are made from scratch.

    When I found out that Paris Baguette was opening in Paris, I didn’t quite understand why that Korean chain would come here to kinda ‘compete’ with actual French bakeries haha. Like I said, I don’t expect their products to fit my and other people’s “European” taste nor to be the least bit similar to real French pastries, so their decision to do their thing here seemed weird. I wonder how they are doing now…

    Well, on that note, I’m off to go eat some bread haha.

    4 years ago
    • Are you perhaps a Montreal nasty? ^^

      4 years ago
      • Omg sorry I just saw your reply! Yes, well yes and no, I’m French and Canadian! I used to live in/near Montréal but now I live in France! n_n

        4 years ago
  11. I grew up in Florida in the US and we had this amazing German bread bakery that I would always get my loaves from. I bring it up because the guy who owns it and makes all the bread is like a seventh generation meisterbacker or masterbaker. There’s even a fancy certificate on the wall of the bakery! So I guess you could say he’s a certified masterbaker from a long line of masterbakers.

    Okay, I will stop with the terrible masterbaker puns.

    If I ever come to South Korea I promise I will bake you a nice fluffy loaf of challah, free of charge. No one should ever be without sandwich bread. I’m pretty sure that’s like a crime in the US.

    4 years ago
  12. I’m Iranian (Persian) and bread is an ESSENTIAL. Bread is everything! I live in the U.S. and I usually stay away from the bread here because they’re filled with chemicals and weird ingredients, whereas in Iran the bread have 5 ingredients MAX (and taste WAY better).
    In Iran, we mostly eat pita bread, tandoori bread, and naan. So, ya, its not those typical European loafs and dense breads, but it’s still AMAZING! They’re mostly flat types of bread, AND THEY’RE SO YUMMY. America can’t get pita breads right like how they do in the middle east. I remember anytime I would visit Iran, my uncle would go to the bakery around 6 AM and bring a HUGE stack of bread warm and fresh from the oven. Then we would have to sit down and fold them all to eat later in the day. And any time my mom and I would go to the bakery to get bread, by the time we get home half of the stack is gone (cause we ate all those carbs:D) The bread taste the best when it’s hot from the oven! God, now I’m craving bread from talking about all the breadporn (yes, that is a thing, believe it or not)

    4 years ago
  13. I’m from Oklahoma and there’s a lot of franchise bread unless your in a major city. And if you do find a small bakery it’s a mom and pop place so that’s always fun to find. When I was in Korea we went to Kutchen Brot in Yunheedong. it was pretty amazing and 10x better than Paris Baguette. It still had the vibe of possible franchise? But there looked like real bakers walking around checking the bread soooo I’m not sure xD

    4 years ago
  14. Bread Problem Solved!

    This recipe allows to you to make an amazing crusty loaf with about 15 minutes of hands on time?

    http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread

    4 years ago
  15. French nasty here, and I will say something highly polemic – I think it’s sometimes hard to find good bread in France.

    Let me explain. I grew up in a small town in the country side (some might call it a village, but I insist of calling it a town!) and the bread and pastries there were wonderful. Later on, I had to move to a bigger city (a proper city this time^^) for my studies and stayed here to live, and most of the bread I’ve bought here wasn’t up to my standards(and don’t get me started on croissants and chocolatines). I think the reason is that a lot of chains have been settling there too, and a lot of the bread and pastries are either made from frozen batter or just made somewhere else, frozen, then sold in bakeries (even in small ones). I even remember buying a croissant in Tesco when I was living in the UK and being shocked at how ”normal” it tasted to me when I’d expected it to be disgusting. This doesn’t sound right…

    Now mind me I think this will not be the case everywhere in France. As I said, the bread in the countryside I grew up in is gorgeous, and I am pretty sure this is the case in many other places as well. Maybe just a countryside vs cities kind of thing ;D

    4 years ago
  16. You shouldn’t talk until you’ve tasted the glutenfree bread.

    ALL the glutenfree bread. (Which means you only have to taste one sort because it all tastes the same.

    4 years ago
    • Where do you come from? I worked in a gluten-free webshop (glutenvrijemarkt.com , yes i do shameless selfpromotion). Anyway, it is Dutch, but we had this new (English) brand called Genious which was quite alright. I don’t have to eat glutenfree, but I had a fair share of glutenfree breads which sucked. The Genious bread however is pretty good, it actually reminded me of bread instead of sand and deserts.

      The only thing I dislike about the bread is that name… makes me cringe every time.

      4 years ago
  17. Martina and Simon: easies ever bread recipe for you to make! I swear, this will give you the crusty, chewy goodiness with just a hint of sour you’re missing. Lots of rising time, but minimal work and kneading. I love to cook but fear baking. This is the bread for you!!! Hopefully you can find bread flour. Recipe is one adapted from something I read a long time ago…I’m working off an old faded post-it note now.

    You’ll need a heavy dutch oven pot (enameled cast iron works best such as Le Creuset) but if you don’t have one of those just use the heaviest pot you have.

    375 grams BREAD flour, unbleached if you can find it….if you don’t have a scale, it’s 3 cups
    2 tsp table salt (not kosher)
    1 tsp instant, rapid rise or fast acting yeast
    300 mls (1 1/2 cups) room temp water
    coarse wheat bran (preferred), cornmeal, or something edible & coarse that can coat the bread so it doesn’t stick; maybe there is coarse rice flour

    Combine flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Pour in water. Using fingers or wooden spoon mix everything together for about 30-45 seconds until a craggy wet dough forms and all flour is absorbed.

    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area overnight (about 16-18 hrs).

    Heavily flour work space (regular flour fine here) dump dough blob onto work surface. (you might need to rub a little olive oil or vegetable oil on a spatula to scrape out the dough). Dust with more flour and stretch into rough square, about 10″ (25 cms) per side. Fold square into thirds. Cover lightly (with a tea towel or cheese cloth or something light weight) and rest about 15-20 minutes.

    Spread out dish towel. Rub generous amount of flour into one half of the towel. then sprinkle several Xs of bran over the flour (to prevent sticking).

    Fold dough into thirds again beginning at short end. It should now look like a cube of dough. Brush off any excess flour. and gently with your hands stretch the top layer part way down over the visible seams. Carefully place dough on the towel with the side with the flour. Sprinkle with a little more flour & bran. Cover with other half of towel and let rise about 2 hours.

    After 1 hour has passed, put your pot and its cover in the oven and turn temp to highest possible setting (500-550 degrees F (don’t know celsius :-( After the 2nd hour, remove pot, steady loaf in your hand and invert it into the pot (be careful! Pot is hot!) Shake the pot if the dough needs to be centered Cut an X on top of the loaf if you want to get fancy. Cover the pot, return to oven, bake 30 minutes. Uncover pot, bake another 20-30 minutes until crust is dark browned like you like it. Remove loaf carefully and let cool on rack until it is warm to the touch.

    Slice and eat with butter, jam…tear it apart, eat crispy crust and chewy interior, slice and make those sandwiches you’re dying for!

    Yes, this bread takes some time to rise, but it’s easy and foolproof and it’ll be BREAD! That tastes like BREAD!

    Enjoy! hope you’ll let me know if you make this. You don’t need a breadmaker. :-D

    잘 먹겠습니다!

    4 years ago
  18. Hey guys,
    As I used to work in the bakery department of a organic food shop, I am quite familiar with how thinks work in there. We used to get the half of our breads pre-baked. The breads were made in the night and delivered in the early morning (around 5-6am). The reason they are pre-baked is because that way the breads are better transportable. Furthermore, on saterday,you need to finish the baking process for around 100+ breads before 8.30. With only 4 ovens and six breads per oven max, do the math. You’d need to get up real early, something none of us were all too exited about. Because the breads are pre-baked, they only need to be baked for around 20 minutes and then they are fresh :).

    the other 40% was from a German brand, and would be delivered all complete, but those were rather expensive. I’d like to add, equally as good as expensive. They had the really heavy, hard on the outside with the almost moist insides breads that the slicing machine would nearly break on (we actually broke a couple of the slicing machine saw/knives on those breads). Always fun if a customer asks for a sliced rye bread and it doesn’t want to to through the slicer… You’re like “tralalalala… GO THROUGH YA DAM BREAD… tralalalala” while the machine is going like “YOU SHALL NOT PASSSSS”.
    Remember to always keep smiling :)

    And then there are the last 10% that are delivered frozen. They are cheap and delicious.
    The pastries were also deliverd frozen. Except for the german brand who had them all finished and ready to eat.

    Anyway, I do miss the breads but I love the pastries here. So sweet :D love it!

    Are there any other part-time bakers around here?

    4 years ago
  19. So off topic, but have you seen the video with Viktoria Modesta?

    Oh. Yeah. Bread.

    I like bread.

    4 years ago
  20. So, I lived in Korea for two years. How many times was I duped by the red bean that looks like chocolate? Or the sweet potato cake that looks like orange? So many times. So many sad, sad times.

    On the other hand this blogger steampunked a walking cast: http://copperbadge.livejournal.com/2774180.html?nojs=0

    And Alexander McQueen designed prosthetic legs: http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/tag/no-13/

    So, really, there’s no reason why you can’t have an amazing brace that matches your pretty dresses.

    4 years ago
  21. In most parts of India, bread is not associated with a main meal. Sure, lots of people eat bread as part of their breakfast or as a snack (toast, sandwiches, etc) but it’s never associated with like a proper lunch or dinner. And though most people eat rotis/parathas/chapatis with meals, flatbread and bread are considered two very different things. Bread in India would be pav (like a burger bun. Pav is part of several common Indian street-food snacks like vada-pav, pav-bhaji, omlette pav, etc) or like a brun or something. Or packaged loaf bread. My foreigner friends find it very frustrating that European or North American style types of bread are not readily available in India. If they are, they are in fancy, expensive bakeries in big cities. I had never heard of a bagel till I was 15 years old and someone mentioned it on an episode of the OC (the show was broadcast on TV here almost three years after its American broadcast). It was another four years before I even tried one. India is becoming more globalized with various types of foreign food coming into the market now.

    4 years ago
  22. I am from the States but good bread is allusive because of a wheat allergy. I have a blood test to confirm it so don’t ask”Are you sure?”. There are more options in the prepackaged food department because of the gluten free diet fad but as for fresh baked forget about it. How would one with food allergies navigate Korea? There is a lot of rice flour but do they mix it with wheat flour? And I would guess it would be the fillings that would get you in the end. Curse you, Soy Sauce! Is gluten free on the radar in Korea? If I ever get a chance to visit it would be nice not to live off of rice and fruit. Martina, looks like you are just going to have to learn to make bread. ;)

    4 years ago
  23. Oh gosh, I’m glad you did a TL;DR on bakeries because I love freshly baked bread, even if I don’t get it all the time. I’m from the US, but I have lived abroad in and visited several countries, specifically Germany and Senegal and one of the main things I miss about those places is eating freshly baked goods daily.

    When we were in Senegal, we had always have a fresh loaf of French bread that I would use to eat with mangoes and bananas and it was CHEAP! You can get French and Italian bread in America, but it’s very hard to get it fresh out of the oven. In addition, there were boulangeries and patisseries EVERYWHERE! Some had better quality than others, but I loved tasting their take on common French baked goods.

    Just talking of this just reminds me how much I miss the cakes that Senegal had. All the patisseries had French cakes that you just can’t find in the US unless you’re in a big city. I was craving a chocolate one like the one here http://skyehohmann.photoshelter.com/img/pixel.gif on the right. I wanted something like that for my birthday back in December and while I had a nice, rich chocolate cake, I was really craving that French cake :)

    4 years ago
  24. can you get wheat flour in korea? or is just expensive? you can easily make your own bread if you can get the right ingredients.

    4 years ago
    • Yes baking your own bread is easy enough and you don’t need too many ingredients to make good bread. If you get a bread machine it can do most of the work for you.

      4 years ago
  25. I’m Brazilian and am living in Korea for 6 months now. I like Paris baguette. I’m not bothered by what it lacks comparing to french bakeries (I’ve been to Paris recently) or Brazilian bakeries. I like what they have, and so do a few French people I met here. I never noticed anything saying that it’s authentic, so it really doesn’t bother me that they decide to use France as a theme. What matters in the end is if tastes good or not, and for me, it does, even if it isn’t the super special artesanal bread.

    4 years ago
  26. For myself, I was never really a big fan of bread (yeah I know so weird) so if I was to move to South Korea I wouldn’t have an issue at all! :p

    4 years ago
  27. The baking culture in Germany is really good. We have chains like Engel which (at least in my area grow really fast). I live in a small town in Northrhine-Westfalia and we have 3 of these bakeries. I think they get their dough frozen but it’s really yummy to be honest. We also have bakeries that are known for pre-baked and then end(???)-baked stuff like backfactory but we also have a lot of bakeries that make everything themselves (even ice cream OwO). So we have a lot of different styles of bakeries and I really like that. :)

    4 years ago
  28. I knew a pastry chef in L.A. that early in her career worked at Paris Baguette. THE STORIES! I live in Koreatown L.A. and barely eat bread because I shop in the Korean market and they just don’t have the bread I love. Well, there’s one style of bread I love, BUT IT IS NOT SOURDOUGH. It’s weird.

    4 years ago
  29. Why don’t you guys make your own bread? It’s really not hard at all. Idk bout the availability of wheat flour in Korea but I’m sure you could order it! Heck even bread machines are pretty great. My dad used to pop in the dough(box mixes even!) at night and by the next morning we’d have fresh baked bread for sandwiches
    I just had a bagel for breakfast and the grocery store within walking distance of my house has pretty damn good croissants…. Bread is my everything

    4 years ago
    • Ovens are not usually a part of a standard Korean kitchen but the bread machine is a good alternative. I would suspect that if they wanted a bread machine they would have to import it anyway.

      4 years ago
  30. I live in NYC and Paris Baguette has two or three stores, and their bread is truly, painfully, awful. Now, that being said, Americans have managed to make crappy long-shelf life weird chemical bread too. I grew up on bakery bread, though, and living in a major city really helps. Plus, we have access to awesome Middle Eastern and Mediterranean baked goods and breads, which is lucky. Also, our Vietnamese restaurants make really good baguettes too! Probably left over from French colonial rule. The Vietnamese sandwich made on baguette is heavenly.

    Now, being married to a Frenchman, here’s the secret to bread in France: the best baguette and croissants (in my humble opinion) are found in Lower Normandy and Brittany, and even Upper Normandy. It’s where the best climate for things like…cheese, butter, milk, and all those rich things we love! Paris is hit-or-miss – you have to find the smaller, quality boulangeries and patisseries. They are there, but not as visible. The fact that Paris Baguette opened in Paris is truly insulting to my husband. Hopefully, the French will eventually run it out of town, but then again, franchises seem to be the way the world is going – just look at McD, KFC, Subway, Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Disney World, and the list goes on. It’s kinda depressing.

    The odd thing here – or maybe it isn’t, someone let me know? – is that these Korean bakery franchises are masquerading as French bakeries, which is wholly misleading. At least McD’s and Starbucks doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t? Or can we argue that Starbucks is simply the American bakery masquerading as a French bakery? Although no Frenchman I know would consider Starbucks as anything other than a coffee take-out joint. What do you guys think?

    4 years ago
  31. BREAD. HO HO HO LET ME TELL YOU HOW DIFFERENT IT IS /WITHIN/ AMERICA. Leigh can probably back me up too when I say this~ TEXAS BREAD SPOILED ME ROTTEN. I’m from Houston, TX and I loved bread here soooo much it’s the best. Then I moved to Seattle, Washington. [insert horror movie music] Dear fucking goodness; bread there was SO DAMN GROSS. I kept tryin and trying and no regular sandwhich bread was good. NOTHING. Then I found ONE store (ONLY 1!!!) that sold Wonderbread and like you said, it’s not the best; but compared to the other terrible shit I was surrounded by, mmmmm it was satisfying enough. It got to a point where I actually just stopped eating bread (except for like italian/french bread loafs and subway and burgers) while living there. When I moved back to TX, I found the bread hella delicious again, but I’m still so traumatized from the bread in Washington State that I can barely eat it anymore. (I’m slowly recovering from NBT -Nasty Bread Trauma-).

    So there u go, bread even within the USA varies and it’s so sad. (FYI Everything is yummier in TX)

    on the other hand, I’m also hispanic/mexican so I also eat alot of Mexican bread (like the sweet bread) and eh…. it’s only good when you eat it fresh. if you wait to eat it like for an hour or so, it get hard and dry– thats when i end up only eating the top of the bread, stripping it of it’s sweetness and i leave the rest to sadness.

    bread. who knew it was so powerful.

    4 years ago
    • I grew up in Oregon, and there were always these loaves in the store called “Texas Toast.” Maybe that would be more similar to what you’re used to? I’ve never made it out to Texas so I don’t know how similar it would actually be. It’s what Oregonians think they serve in Texas, any way. ;)

      4 years ago
      • Texas Toast usually has garlic salt and cheese on it…it is sort of like the “Texas” version of garlic cheese bread. Don’t know how authentically Texan it is. I’ve been to Austin, Texas a few times, but I can’t say I can recall eating Texas Toast there (aside from the frozen prepackaged kind) or any regional bread that blew my mind…but then, the people I was visiting weren’t the most culinarily advanced…

        4 years ago
        • I saw quite a few that weren’t covered in cheese or garlic. I never bought any, but they just looked like extra thick slices of white bread. And Dave’s Killer Bread is awesome! :D

          4 years ago
    • This makes me sad to hear. I was born and raised in Oregon, not too far from Seattle, and I’ve always found the bread to be exceptional. That being said, I know that regional tastes can be very different. Oregon prefers heartier, more seed and nut based breads. Dave’s Killer Bread is a great example. My favorite is The Good Seed. All of his breads are made with organic ingredients and no artificial ingredients. The difference, once you taste it, is astounding. But, I like denser, more nutty breads. My time living in Ireland spoiled me for that. You haven’t had a bread that will put meat on your ribs until you try Irish Brown Bread…and that stuff is hella chocked full of fiber too! I still miss it.

      4 years ago
  32. Hello~! I also experience cravings for real bread, especially SOURDOUGH!!! GAH!! Often I try to find a friend to buy me a bunch from the Army Base in Yongsan. They have a bakery in the grocery store and it’s pretty close to what I used to eat at home in the US.

    I also wanted to suggest a little bakery in my neighborhood. It’s close to Hongdae over in the Yeonnam-dong area call Tom’s Bakery. While their menu is small and a little pricey they use real butter on their fluffy crusty croissants! Also it’s a little far and probably still aimed at Korean taste buds, but Richmond Bakery ( http://map.naver.com/local/siteview.nhn?code=31583489) is part of a very old Korean bakery school. I bought a strawberry yogurt cake there and it was so fluffy and moist and unlike any cake I’ve eaten in Korea.

    Anyway~ your blog is wonderful! I always enjoy your videos~ ^^ I’ll have to stop by the cafe soon~

    4 years ago
  33. Honestly bakeries as “bread baking place” are rare here in Latvia, but you can still get freshly baked bread because we don’t freeze bread here at all. The large factories bake them on the spot and then distribute them to smaller shops or supermarkets. Considering how popular rye and sweet-and-bitter bread is here, I’m guessing those can’t actually be frozen at all. And many supermarkets have their own bakeries in them so you can get freshly baked pastries anywhere. There are lots of pastry shops, I have no clue how they get their produce but most I’ve been to make their own. That said, getting bread from the shop located at the bread factory is the best.

    4 years ago
  34. Hi there
    Im from Slovakia, near the capital, Bratislava (so i can talk only for people living on the west, near the capital)
    When I was younger (Yes i know thats been like 10 years ago -.- dont judge me) there was an awesome traditional Slovak-Hungarian baker in out small village!!! One just had to wake up, get on the bike or have a morning walk and you could get back home with super fresh steamy buns and breads, kneaded by the baker himself like at 3AM just for you!
    …But, he had to close down. A lot of small bakeries had to close down due to the overwhelming market of Tesco, Kaufland, Lidle and such stuff. I dont mean to complain about them cause they make they make the bakery fresh and traditionally but… you know what i mean -.-
    You just dont get that huge variety of pastries and bread that those small bakeries have/had. Oh dear spaghetti monster, how i wish i could have a good old “Bosniak” again >..<)

    Although i grieve after those good old bakeries and savory breads, i do have to mention a positive trend thats happening in Bratislava.
    Awesome, new, stylish, themed coffee shops that care for coffee with so much care! And they have been popping out everywhere like mushrooms after a rain day! I seriously cant find enough time to go to all of them! And a lot of them work together with at-home bakers, which cant afford to have their own small bussiness, and create traditional or funky desert and pastries for their coffee shops <3

    I need opportunities/excuses to go to coffee shops -.-

    4 years ago
  35. SO TRUE. My roommate sees my struggle. I love WHOLE wheat bread (not the lie that Tous le Jous has). Of course I can never find any good really. But I do know of two privately owned bakeries. One had a really good donut with 팥 filling. It was more fluffy and delicious than any bakery food we had in Korea yet. This was in 성신여대.

    4 years ago
  36. As an unsuspecting European living in Shanghai, you could only imagine my despair when for the first time I unwittingly went to a Paris Baguette and foolishly thought that I was choosing a selection of both sweet and savoury pastries. NO! It’s not to say that the pastries there aren’t tasty (but sweet garlic toast was certainly an experience) but there’s a real lack of European style bread readily available. Which is fine, because I’m not in Europe any more, but it’s the initial shock to the system like “Now what am I gonna eat for breakfast?”.

    So I’ve just stopped eating bread, basically. There are days I long for a loaf that isn’t sugary, I miss baguette, tiger, crusty, ciabatta, focaccia, muffuletta – BREAD, I’LL NEVER TAKE YOU FOR GRANTED AGAIN. There’s an Italian restaurant down the street that has LEGIT Italian products and bread. But it’s pricey :( We have the French Concession here in Shanghai so I’d like to think somewhere there has European style pastries, but I don’t want to travel 60 minutes there and back just for a coffee and croissant. I can survive until I get back home haha.

    4 years ago
    • I think “French” Concession is a purely historical term, I haven’t found any particularly French things there but I’m not exactly an expert so who knows…
      I don’t know about Italian bread but if you want German/Austrian break check out this http://www.abendbrot.com.cn/ they even deliver to some areas of Shanghai, not where I live though :( or go to Haubi’s Bakery at Xintiandi Style in the supermarket on the lowest level

      also, are you interested in possibly meeting another expat Nasty in Shanghai?

      4 years ago
      • I would indeed be interested in meeting another expat Nasty :D Yay friendship! Thank you for the link! I haven’t been to the former French Concession yet but I have a classmate who lives there and their apartment has an oven so naturally I assumed they had more bread in that area haha o.O

        4 years ago
  37. I have the explanation about the disapoiting croissant in Paris…Sadly in France bakeries use more and more oil instead of butter in croissants…economics matters…BUT if you search carefully there is some of them wich still use butter (easier to find in britany)! And then the croissants are…OMG! :)

    4 years ago
  38. The struggle is real guise… I live in Korea and I’m from WI. My hometown is actually very close to an Amish community and their baked goods are sooooo delicious (and so are their cheese curds *slurps drool*). Anyway, I’m also definitely a sandwich and chips person, so the lack of proper sandwich bread and meats has really had an impact on my eating habits. I also haven’t found any decent cookies here. I’ve taken to making my own, but of course, I then eat all of them in a couple days. :P

    4 years ago
    • OH MY GOD AMISH BAKED GOODS ARE THE BEST. I used to live close to indiana (which has a large amish community) and I was spoiled rotten and then I moved to Minnesota this last year and I was confused because their bread dreadful. Why is it so difficult to understand and replicate. Being in Minnesota was difficult enough but I just got back from korea for the second time recently and that was so so miserable….I think this year I will become a professional baker before moving back to korea next year. I am serious about my sandwiches.

      4 years ago
  39. I’m a shameless bagel snob, loyal to the New York style. As a result, I sneer at the mass produced garbage the big names (I’m looking at you, Tim Hortons) pass off as “bagels”.

    When it comes to bakeries and baked goods (and a lot of other things), I find that quality is inversely related to diversity of product. Bakeries which dabble in all of breads, cakes, pastries, etc. may have edible end results, but rarely excellent results. I’m lucky enough to have access to a few places locally which focus on nothing but bagels; you have to go elsewhere for the cream cheese! But man, those bagels are to die for.

    Your experience with Korean bakeries mimics my experience with bagels in Montreal. They have some excellent bagel shops, but I prefer the New York style vs. the Montreal style. And if you want a par-baked frozen ring-shaped lie, there’s always Tim Hortons.

    4 years ago
  40. I’m an American, but I’ve tried the bread in both Japan and Korea. I definitely agree that Japan has a great selection of breads. Between private owned bakeries, and chains (like Vie De France and Pompadour) there are tons of options to choose from! I’m a sweets person myself, but it’s nice to have the option of more savory breads. Also, many bakeries in Japan discount their bread after a certain time in the afternoon, so you can load up on all the bready goodness!

    One thing I’ve noticed in Japan is the inclusion of “French Toast” at bakeries. Usually it looks like an extra wide slice of white bread (think 2 – 3 inches or more), cut on the diagonal, and coated with a sugary topping. I’m not sure exactly how it qualifies as “French toast” but it is DE-LI-CIOUS!

    As far as Korean bakeries, I also agree that Paris Baguette was not very impressive. However I LOVED Paris Croissant! Their lunch (and brunch!) options were all great in my opinion. That being said, I never went to Paris Croissant just for a loaf of bread, but the bread used on their sandwiches was really good!

    4 years ago