To step into the warm orange glow of Wu Pao Chun is to surrender yourself to the smell of freshly baked bread, to throw off all self-restraint, and to yield to the seductive promise of great mornings, made greater by good bread.
The usual suspects abound. Croissants – crisp, golden, a perfect spiral of butter and flaky layers; baguettes – sliced lengthwise, smothered with tomato paste, topped with onions and olives.
From the land of the rising sun: a red bean biscuit, its dough stretched thin over a golf ball sized dollop of smooth red bean paste; a Hokkaido milk bun, its interior ethereally creamy and sweet.
Then, there are the champions. Red Wine Longan and Lychee Rose, the breads that helped baker Wu Pao Chun clinch the Master Baker award in 2010. Measuring nearly 45 cm in diameter, these hefty breads look every inch a winner. Buying such a huge loaf is a commitment though, especially if you’re living alone, but the staff at Wu Pao Chun was kind enough to cut me a sample of the Red Wine Longan bread. Moist and chewy, each bite carried the subtle sweetness of dried longans and a smoky whiff of aged wine. It was certainly delicious but if I had to eat the whole loaf by myself…
Instead, I bought a beautiful chocolate brioche, its crackled crust dredged in powdered sugar for a classic monochrome look. The brioche tasted more cake than bread, but with a surprising fluffiness. Gems of candied orange peel hid within the chocolaty layers, livening each mouthful with a bright citrus-y tang. At NTD 180, the brioche was pretty pricey, but for once, I’ve been happy to be awake early the past two mornings. Well then, whoever said happiness couldn’t be bought had obviously never tasted good bread.
No. 88, Yanchang Road, Xinyi District, Taipei
Psst…It’s located at B2 of the Eslite store at Songshan Cultural Park. It opens at 11am and I’d recommend going early to avoid the queue!