CA Bakehouse - Best Asian Bakery In San Jose's Vietnam Town
CA Bakehouse is a mom-and-pop bakery located in Vietnam Town near Downtown, San Jose. They were previously called Century Bakery and were the original creators of the green waffle which is made of pandan, a plant popular in many Asian desserts for its slightly sweet flavor and aroma, and for the beautiful green color it creates.
For our visit, we got their Portuguese egg tart, their choux pastries in every flavor (pandan, black sesame, ube, and durian), their durian egg tart, and their newest addition, the pandan burnt basque cheesecake.
First of all, their Portuguese egg tarts. I’m a major fan of egg tarts so I was excited to try this. Their egg custard filling is super creamy and smooth, sweet but not too sweet, allowing for the flavor of the cream and the egg to come through. It is a fusion of Chinese and Portuguese style with a very flaky crust. I absolutely loved that it had so much filling, the crust to filling ratio was just perfect so I was very happy and satisfied with this egg tart.
This next one is for the durian lovers out there, there might not be too many, but we’re out there! When I saw that they had durian egg tarts, I just knew I had to get it. I literally can’t find a place that makes this in San Diego, so I did not want to miss out on this opportunity. I loved that it was not just durian flavored, but there was an actual whole chunk of durian in it which is just amazing. If you don’t absolutely despite durian, I would give this a chance, it might change your mind on durian! But other than the addition of durian, it was pretty much the same as the regular egg tart we just talked about, so basically, perfection.
Choux pastries are very similar to cream puffs except the pastry dough is slightly different and gives a different texture. The choux pastry dough is quite airy and also has a soft crunch at the top. All their choux are topped with almonds and they come in four flavors: pandan, black sesame, ube, and durian. All their flavors were pretty on point, but relatively mild at that. I’d say my favorite was their durian choux, but I’m clearly biased. I love all the flavors individually, but if you’re looking to get a punch of flavor, this might be disappointing to you. However, they do have a really great filling to pastry ratio. It is loaded with their filling so you don’t get too much dough in each bite, it also lets the filling flavor come out a bit more. Their cream filling is very creamy, soft, and a bit sweet. They’re great desserts overall and it would be hard to dislike them. They are also very photogenic and it is very satisfying to see the filling ooze out of the pastry shell.
Last but not least, they added a pandan burnt basque cheesecake to their menu to hop on the burnt basque cheesecake trend, they also have regular burnt basque cheesecake if you would prefer that. First of all, their burnt basque cheesecake itself is very fresh, it literally came to me still warm, so I know it’s fresh. And another way to tell is that it’s not completely set yet, still a bit liquid on the very inside of it. They probably don’t expect you to eat it right away like we did, but regardless of it not being completely set, it was still a great cheesecake. It is extremely smooth and silky, very soft (partially probably because it’s not set yet) and the cheese flavor does come through, which is something I look for in a cheesecake. I would say though, if you want to try pandan for the first time or if you’re looking for a great pandan dessert, I would not recommend this because the pandan flavor wasn’t very prominent in this one, unfortunately. But if you’re looking for a good burnt basque cheesecake, then this would be the way to go. If you want a stronger pandan flavor, I would recommend their original green waffle, that is what they’re known for, although I did not try it myself. Their honeycomb cake might also be a good pandan dessert option. This is a very traditional Asian dessert which is quite light but also very chewy. From the ones I’ve had in the past, they generally have a strong pandan flavor, although I have not tried theirs myself either.
When I was here, I felt like I was in my happy place, I was so content with all the desserts and pastries we tried. I really regret not getting their croissants, which aren’t your regular croissants because they are loaded with a sweet custard filling that comes in various flavors (including pandan). Next time I go here, I will be asking for one of everything.
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