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Bonchaz: Vancouver's version of the coffee bun

If you regularly frequent farmer’s markets around Vancouver, you won’t be a stranger to the name of Bonchaz.  Fortunately for bread lovers around the Lower Mainland, they have set up a permanent stand in way of a coffee shop along Hastings St. where passersby can be perpetually tormented by the wafting aroma of their killer coffee buns. 

A coffee bun, aka Mexican bun, is actually a misnomer.  Nobody knows where its name originated from, most especially people from Mexico.  The closest guess is that an Asian tourist one day traveled to Mexico, sampled one of their local sweet buns (conchas), loved the taste, and tried to recreate it at home.  The result was the happy accident that fusion food often is.

The Mexican Bun is famous all over Southeast Asia because of a Malaysian bakeshop which began to sell these buns under the name of Rotiboy.  It wasn’t long before the brand soon became a household name.  Whatever you call it: coffee bun, Mexican bun, Rotiboy and now, Bonchaz, these buns are both delicious and addictive.

The original coffee bun at Bonchaz is a soft pillow of a bun with a crisp topping that faintly tastes of coffee; the inside consists of an intriguing combination of butter and sea salt.  Bonchaz carries a few different flavours such as banana walnut, apple cinnamon, and French truffle, and they promise more to come (there is a rumour about green tea.)  All of them come out of their ovens piping hot, and although there is always the possibility of warming them up at home, it’s quite a feat to be able to carry one home without giving into the temptation to devour it.

Besides buns, you will also find some very decent coffee made from organic coffee beans, and for the lunch crowd, a few different kinds of soup.  All the items are very reasonably priced, from the Bonchaz itself (1.25- 1.75) to the coffee (1.95) to the soup (2.95). 

Bonchaz = bon goût+ bon prix.  Bon appétit!

Bonchaz Specs:

Where: 426 W. Hastings St.

When: Monday to Friday 8:30 am - 7 pm, Sat 10:30 am- 5 pm

What: Need you ask?  The French truffle is their most popular bun.  It has been unavailable for the past few weeks, but fear not!  A reliable source revealed that it will be back next week!


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