Where can you buy good bread in Kunming? If you've been somewhat shocked by the Asian reinvention of bread in bakeries here, read on. There is good Western bread available in Kunming.
The problem with Asian bread is that it's cake. The reason it tastes like that and has that mouth cloying softeness and that horrible smell is because of the stuff they put in it. None of these additives, sugar, extra proteins, oils and 'butter flavour' will kill you - but do mean that the bread has a shelf life of, well, possibly several weeks.
Ok, so where's the good stuff? You may be lucky enough to see a locally made French/Vietnamese 8 -10" baguettes in tiny grocery stores. They're great, fresh and really cheap. I think the undesputable bread baking champion of Kunming is French Cafe on Wen Lin Jie, but I hear you have to be pretty fast to get some. As you Like It, in the little alley behind Paul's, also makes mighty fine bread. At Slice of Heaven we also make bread. We use flour, water, yeast and salt. Nothing else. We take our time, about 18 hours, bake late in the morning so it will be hot and fresh for lunch time. Because we just bake once a day we make we sometimes get it wrong and run out. We do bake bread to order.
Carrefour sells some interesting cardboard baseball bats.
Only good bread is made by yourself here. Period
Yeah, I picked up a baguette at Carrefour the other day and it was hard as rock. How do they keep selling it? But the baseball bat thing is a great suggestion.
I totally agree, Barbaras bread is best, but I am a biased kiwi :-)
However, I live in the North, and up here is quite far away. So what do I do for bread? Believe it or not Metro actually has some quite tasty baguettes and fresh bread. Don't try anything else though and buy on the same day its baked (fresh everyday, they pop out at about 10-10:30am... but if you arrive at 9:30, you may be able to get them straight out of the oven if you ask nicely).
Strange, I know, I couldn't believe it either. But I aren't complaining...
I always hear about the French Cafe's great bread but I have yet to buy any there that even rated near what I got back in Seattle for .99 at the supermarket. It is too heavy and often hard, as if they have not thrown out the old bread from three days ago. Maybe some people like hard and heavy bread or all the "good" stuff is getting swooped up. I also found the bread used for their sandwiches is usually stale and hard.
Went into Laos a couple years ago and the bread there was wonderful. China just refuses to do things, like bread or pastries, any other way but they way they want. The pastries around Wenlin Jie are crappy as well. Barely passable to me and yet so expensive. And someone needs to tell pastry makers here that a cherry tomato is not really a cherry and has no place on a pastry.
Maybe things have changed in the eight months since I left Kunming... but when I was living there, French Cafe was turning out baguettes that compared favorably with Parisian bakeries. And certainly better than any I've ever had in Vietnam or Laos.
(And props to As You Like, Sandra's and Slice of Heaven for also producing some very good bread)
I went to Slice of Heaven this past week and Barbara so graciously obliged my hunger for raisin walnut bread. I returned the next day to pick up my two loaves of bread (also had a whole-grain loaf). The bread was delicious. I would suggest anyone to try out the bread at Slice of Heaven (haven't tried it yet but their carrot cake looks amazing as well).
maybe I went on the wrong days or something. I will certainly give it another shot but I was disappointed before. But sounds like you had some good experiences so I will try it again, maybe earlier in the day. And I keep hearing about Slice of Heaven so I should locate that and try it as well. My wife actually makes good bread (and perfect flour tortillas) but she has not been baking lately really.
the carrot cake at Slice of Heaven is very good.