Restaurant: Panaderia Latina Bakery
Cuisine: Bakery/Latin America/South America
Last visited: March 6, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Refrew-Collingwood)
Address: 4906 Joyce St
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Authentic Latin bakery
- Very traditional Chilean recipes
- Hole in the wall
- Fresh baked goods in display cases
- Grocery store
- Home made baked goods
- Frequented by Latin Americans
Never would I have discovered this bakery if I wasn’t next door trying Bo Laksa King…and never would I have discovered Bo Laksa King if I wasn’t given the recommendation to visit there. So kill 2 birds with one stone – get your hole in the authentic Malaysian food and then go next door to get your authentic Latin American desserts. I mean I don’t know how well those cuisine go together…but I’m rarely in this area so I wanted to hit up both.
Panaderia Latina Bakery specializes in authentic Latin American baked goods – specifically Chilean baked goods and desserts. The ladies and bakers behind the counter are all from South America and you just know walking in that you are about to get the good stuff. Everything offered was traditional and actually quite sweet but I enjoyed them all for the most part. I don’t remember any of the prices but everything is pretty dirt cheap. As a Latin bakery they were excellent but on the broader scheme of desserts and bakeries they weren’t the best desserts I’ve ever had.
Half of the bakery is a grocery store so you can pick up some Latin American groceries while you’re at it! (Likewise at Bo Laksa King)
**Recommendations: Bread Pudding (Budin), Milhojas (Napoleon)
Pineapple Empanada – 2.5/6
- I wasn’t crazy about this pineapple empanada. The recipe is traditional, but I think I would like a non-traditional version better with real pineapples inside and a flakey pastry.
- The crust is almost like a cookie crust. It’s very crumbly and almost like shortbread. It had a dry texture.
- The filling is like a pineapple jam. It was quite thick and sticky and there wasn’t much of it but it was just too artificial for me. It was quite sweet but not too strong in pineapple flavour…it reminds me of apricot jam.
**Bread Pudding (Budin) - 5/6
- Chilean bread pudding is much different than the British/American versions we’re typically used to. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
- The bread pudding is very dense and almost like a bar. The bread is not chunks of cubed bread but it’s very tightly packed together to create a rubbery like texture. It was chewy and moist though so it wasn’t a bad ‘rubbery’ at all.
- It was almost like a solidified custard or pudding. I think they use condensed milk in it. It’s sweet, but not overly sweet.
- The top was a little dry and stale, but that’s expected for display case take-out desserts like this…so I’ll let that go.
- It had a caramel taste and there were flakes of dried coconut and plump raisins all throughout. Loved that part!
Pan Dulce (Sweet Bread) – 2/6
- This reminded me of a bun I would see at a Chinese bakery – particularly the “Pineapple Bun”. (The reasons it’s called a Pineapple Bun is because the top looks like a pineapple).
- The literal translation of Pan Dulce is sweet bread or sugary bread. It’s actually very lightly sweetened. It was very ordinary to me and I much rather have a Chinese bakery sweet bun.
- It was soft, fluffy and light. I found it quite neutral in flavour and very similar to home made white bread.
- The topping is supposed to be a sweeter streusel topping, but I didn’t find that part sweet either. It was pretty though.
**Milhojas (Napoleon) – 5.5/6
- This is one of their most popular desserts. Almost every culture has their own interpretation of th authentic French dessert the Napoleon. For example the Chinese version of napoleon at St. Germain’s Bakery is made with walnuts and a couple layers of sponge cake. This is the Latin Americans and it’s sweeter than most I’ve tried.
- This was my favourite. It’s very crunchy, crispy and flakey. The pastry is lovely and it’s very fresh. The bottom layer was almost like an almond tart cookie crust – it was very nutty and crumbly.
- There aren’t many layers of custard, but the single layer is very thick, creamy and sweet so I’m glad there was only one layer. I think the custard was made with condensed milk because it was very rich and not like a French style custard. Since it was cooked the custard caramelized and got even sweeter. A dessert that goes well with milk or water.
- Sometimes the custard layer is a buttercream layer like the one from Diplomat Bakery.