J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Monday, August 7, 2017

Asian Sweets and Treats

My husband and I were born and raised on opposite sides of the world.  As a result, our food preference is also a world apart, especially when it comes to sweets.  He grew up eating cakes and cookies for desserts, so has a huge sweet tooth.  My sweet tooth is practically non existent.  My desserts were bananas right off the tree in our backyard after each meal.  It was one of my fondest childhood memories growing up in Vietnam, as expressed by the excitement on my face when I saw this nostalgia inducing banana stalk.

Bananas at a Hawaiian farm.
Asian desserts in general include a lot of fruits and are not very sweet by American's standard.  Many are influenced by former European colonial rulers & traders (also not as sweet).  French pastries, for example, are very popular in Vietnam.

If you're like me and don't like your desserts overly sweet or just curious about Asian desserts, here are three places in town you can check out.

JW Cafe & Bakery | Korean
2301 Terra Crossing Blvd, Suite 105
Louisville, KY 40245
(502) 907-5248

This brand new Korean bakery just opened two weeks ago in East Louisville, the first of its kind here.  My foodie buddy Mia texted me yesterday morning and I was literally there in 20 minutes.  Grab a tray and fill it with pastries displayed on a small table, then head to the counter for cakes, a croissant sandwich or salmon salad.  Pair your sweets with some coffee, tea or bubble tea.  I thoroughly enjoyed the flaky croissant, with the perfect amount of sweet glazed on top.  The owner brought us a complimentary piece of cake that's light and soft.  The mango bubble tea was good, though not the best in town.

Complimentary of the owner
Photo Source: Mia

Mango bubble tea
Those used to larger Asian bakeries in cities such as Atlanta and Houston will be disappointed by the smaller selection, but can still appreciate the delicious and beautifully made desserts.  I'm hoping once the business is more established, the selection will grow.  The cafe itself is bright and cutesy, perfect for a coffee break with your buddy.

0 Degrees Ice Cream | Thai
5000 Shelbyville Rd
Space 5820 (Inside Mall St. Matthews by Cinnabon)
Louisville, KY 40207
(646) 736-8173

If you've seen videos of rolled ice cream made in the streets of Thailand, you know what this place is all about.  If you haven't, here's a quick version.

This extremely popular ice cream trend is well established in large cities but just made its way to Louisville last year.  First, choose a suggested combo or create your own, next the ice cream is made right in front of your eyes.  What makes this different is that the finished product is rolled into smaller rolls and topped with additional goodies.  The selection here is small and is a bit pricey ($6.59), but it's fun to watch and eat.  My matcha ice cream was okay, I recommend the Pink Lady.

Pink Lady
Menu. Source: 0 Degrees Facebook.

DaLat's Gateaux & Cafe | Vietnamese
6915 Southside Dr
Louisville, KY 40214
(502) 368-9280

For French inspired Asian pastries and Vietnamese desserts, head to DaLat's in ethnically diverse South Louisville.  The pastries are not as sweet, decently priced and plentiful.    There's also a good selection of bubble tea, coffee and smoothies. My favorite here is the bacon onion buns.  They also have a good selection of Vietnamese savory snacks, such as snail sausage, banh mi, jerky, etc.

Pastries. Photo Source: Shelley S.,  Yelp
For special occasions, you can pre-order cakes too.  Due to language barrier, be very specific with your request to avoid any confusions.

Our wedding cake from DaLat's

The picking is a bit slim here because of the smaller Asian population in Louisville, but I'm hoping that will change soon.  I also found desserts from other ethnic eateries to my liking as well, check out the paletas (ice cream bars) at Panchito's and Bosnian pastries at Jasmin's Bakery.