The Best Bakeries on Guam, Part II
The journey on the crumb trail continues hot on the scent of classic baked goods and new inspired takes on ethnic and seasonal pastries. As I ventured into these bake shops I discovered that most of the top-selling goods had a common ingredient — cheese. What’s more interesting is that no two bake shops have the same version of a cheese bread or a cheese roll. Yes, being cheesy at these bake shops is as easy as pie. By simply adding this calcium-rich ingredient on ordinary bread to everything else, like meat-filled rolls, these bake shops have figured out what it takes to bring on the morning and late afternoon rush. Here is a list of five more local bake shops with their unique and top-selling pastries.
Manny’s Bake Shop
Cheeseburger baked buns are filled with steaming-hot ground beef in a chewy, baked bun sprinkled with sesame seeds on top. Break it open and the melted cheese that comes oozing out tastes so creamy and tangy, it adds a deep richness to the burger filling.
Brazo de Mercedes (Arm of Mercedes) is an interesting Filipino dessert that has sparked intrigue into its true origin. Whether it was named after an actual Filipina grandmother or if it was inspired by Hispanic influences, what may offer a clue is the use of a lot of egg yolks. Eggs yolks are a common ingredient in Spanish desserts. The egg whites are just as essential as it makes the meringue cake the vanilla custard is rolled in, much like a Swiss roll. It’s best to cut it into slices right before serving. Manny’s bake shop is one of the only places on island where you can find this classic dessert, baked locally.
Sans rival (without rival) is a layered bar of buttery-crisp cookie crumbs, almond custard and chopped almonds. This rich pastry is a favorite during the holidays, but is now made available year-round. Manny’s Bake shop also carries many almond-flavored pastries, and custards that may be bought in cups or is used as an ingredient in many of its recipes.
Manny’s Bake Shop is located at Hafa Adai Exchange, Marine Corps. Drive, adjacent to the FHP clinic in Tamuning.
Cheese bread from Blessed Bakery has by far the most generous amount of cream cheese fillings inside a moist bread roll. A spread of butter and sugar on top gives every bite a sweetness that compliments the tartness of the cheese chunks inside.
Pan de sal is a morning staple made with such care and perfection it should be tried on its own, first. No dipping in the morning coffee or using jam or butter! Just chew and let your taste buds go on a trip. The taste may be familiar if you tried the rolls at a local steakhouse restaurant. For people familiar with starters, the fermenting process gives bread a rustic, aged taste, and that’s what this tiny bake shop — literally a “hole in the wall” beside a gas station — has perfected into this common ordinary bread. Although it means salt bread, this pan de sal has a pleasant sweetness. It is customary to keep this bread fresh in the back and packaged upon request.
Blessed Bakery is located at the intersection of Marine Corps Drive and West Santa Monica Avenue in Dededo.
Cake pops are little cute round cake balls covered in a hardened chocolate shell. These treats make awesome party favors, but making them yourself is a tedious job that requires the right equipment, technique and time for preparation. Conditions need to be perfect, like the temperature to melt then harden the chocolate shells. The texture of the cake balls should be moist not mushy. So, if you don’t have the required time and energy to make something that can be devoured in just one bite, stop by Crown, and order a batch or choose from a variety of pops that quickly move off the rack each day.
Soy dog in a wheat blanket is a healthy alternative to the popular “pig in the blanket” rolls. The soy dog is handled delicately, placed in a separate display case to keep its wheat roll toasty and warm. Crown Bakery has taken bold steps over the years with great success as a result. First, in veering off conventional local bread fare by introducing a variety of mainland favorites, one being the focaccia bread; then second, in being miles ahead of local bakeries when it comes to providing an array of low-fat, low-sugar, or high-fiber items to choose from for the health-conscious customers.
Doughnuts are made fresh twice a day. Low-fat treats are available but there are days when you want to splurge and experience eating a rich-tasting treat. You’ve come to the right place and time(s) at Crown Bakery. It does help when you can buy a doughnut and a huge Bran Muffin at the same time. Crown’s doughnuts are exquisitely textured. You first encounter the crispness of the golden-tan outer layer as you sink your teeth in, and once you chew on the creamy dough, that along with the thick glazed sugar or chocolate icing will just melt away in your mouth. If you are a doughnut lover, you’ll definitely love it more having it made hot and fresh early in the morning and late in the afternoon, right before dinner.
Crown Bakery is located at the corner of the tri-intersection of Rte. 8 and Guam Veteran’s Highway in Barrigada.
Cup and Saucer Bakery
Cinnamon rolls at Cup and Saucer are not the typical kind in the way they are prepared. The dough is typically baked until brown, stiff, and chewy to the bite. But at Cup and Saucer, the bread is firm and crusty on the outside, and the inside so tender and flaky you won’t have the usual struggle to cut through it with a plastic knife. The cream cheese frosting feels lighter because it is whipped, which means there is more air and volume, and less mass — delightful news to the waistline. The cinnamon powder used called Korintje, is mildly spiced and aromatic, and is the common choice for baking. The subtlety of the sugar and spice makes Cup and Saucer’s cinnamon rolls a refreshing treat to the taste buds.
Vegetarian quiche is a baked dish that is packed with nutrients and a ton of flavor. The quiche is filled with an egg mixture of spinach, broccoli, carrots and corn, while the bottom is thinly lined with mashed potatoes. Seasonings such as savory spices, herbs and cheeses bring deep flavor into this hearty dish. The thick, buttery and crumbly crust makes it a nice filling meal.
Pumpkin crunch bar is one of Cup and Saucer’s top-selling pastries. It is a cool dessert to have on a hot summer day. The crunch comes from a mixture of toffee, almonds and shortbread cookie crumbs forming the bottom half-inch thick crust that holds a light creamy pumpkin filling. It is topped with whipped cream frosting, and a nice finishing touch to this decadent crunch bar is the Korintje cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Cup & Saucer Bakery is located on Martyr St. in Hagatna.
Huang’s Cake Shop
Custard pie seems to be the easiest pie as the saying goes. “As easy as pie,” wasn’t referring to making the pie that obviously isn’t easy, it referred to the eating of the pie that was easy. You’d feel that way after taking a bite of Huang’s custard pie. After all, pies and cakes have long been their specialty, especially the pumpkin pie mentioned by many locals. Eating custard pies had often given me the sense of how baked goods have become mass-produced, are full of artificial ingredients, and that care and attention were no longer given to the most important part — the crust! Not Huang’s, the crust is evenly baked all around, flaky enough to break off, but has a firmness that keeps it from being too crumbly. The bottom crust is not underdone and pasty like most mass-produced pies. The custard filling is softer, creamier with a velvety smooth texture. Caramelized vanilla sugars line the surface of the pie giving every bite a sweet end note. Huang’s is slowly but surely reemerging after recently reopening its doors to the public again. Local baking enthusiasts also have known Huang’s to carry Wilton products.
Huang’s Cake Shop is located on Rte. 8, between the John Robert Powers building and the Coast 360 Credit Union Bank in Maite.