The Chinese character for this steamed "cake" (slice, $1) alludes to flour made from glutinous rice. Inevitably, however, such confections also incorporate another flour — often tapioca, sometimes water chestnut — so they're not blobby, like mochi, but can take and retain a better-defined shape. For this cake the flours have been blended with ground black sesame seeds, sugar, and water, then poured into a tray and steamed, again and again, layer by inky layer.
Previously: Most hopia are on the sweet side, in the not-too-sweet manner of Chinese pastries; mung bean paste is a common filling. Generally the dough is fattened with lard, but hopia baboy take the meme to an extreme: in this five-pack (shown below, 10 oz. total, $2.75), the filling marries the flavors of fatty pork and green onion. Other hopia baboy reportedly feature winter melon that's been slow-cooked in lard; I've yet to find these in New York.
New Golden Fung Wong Bakery 41 Mott St. (Pell-Bayard Sts.), Manhattan 212-267-4037
Homesick-student hunger pains, or so the story goes, were the inspiration for the Bauru sandwich, which takes its name from a city in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. Though the original recipe calls for roast beef, a common variation (and the only style I've found in Newark) features ham as well as mozzarella, tomato, and oregano. This bakery-restaurant does offer a Bauru on the typical sliced French loaf, but the option of pão de queijo, or cheesebread (shown, $4.25) serves better as the salty centerpiece of a savory and sweet breakfast.
Also shown, a trio of cakes ($2.50-$3 each) in approximate order of increasing sweetness: bolo mandioca, made from cassava; bolo sabor vida queijo, which weds corn and cheese; and bolo gelado, a coconut-covered "chilled" cake that may remind you of a less-runny tres leches.
My crumb cake ($2) was not one of the squares already cut free; given a choice, I always ask for an edge, if not a corner. Also shown: an apple turnover, courtesy of the counterman. Although summer weekends are slow, he noted, Monday through Friday remain big days for bread. Not in the morning — in late afternoon and evening, when fresh-from-the-oven Italian loaves welcome customers headed home for dinner.
Yes, you can get a cholado (first photo, about $5). It would be a rare Colombian snack shop, even one as small as this, where you couldn't procure that sugary load of shaved ice drenched in syrup and condensed milk, then freighted with fruit salad.
More basic, and (reportedly) more widely sold on the streets of Bogotá, is mango biche (Bee-chay, second photo, $4). At La Dulce Bakery it's prepared from a softball-size specimen of the unripe fruit, which is skinned, then clamped in a rotary peeler. Several diligent minutes of hand-cranking yield a cupful of what resembles spaghetti squash, but only at first glance — the golden strands are firmer, tart, receptive to salt and squeezes of lime. Mango biche, as a change-up from a cholado, is refreshing in its simplicity.
Sugar pie, sugar cream pie, Indiana cream pie — "Hoosier pie" (slice, $5.50) sums it up perfectly.
Also shown: a table with a view (and the best light for a photo). Hoosier Mama's predecessor was a Mexican grocery and takeout, I was told, but once upon a time that elevated platform might have held a shop-window display.
Hoosier Mama Pie Company 1618 West Chicago Ave. (Ashland-North Marshfield Aves.), Chicago 312-243-4846 (One of two Chicagoland locations) www.HoosierMamaPie.com Closed Monday (From a June 2016 visit)
If you fancy Hungarian pastries as I do, this twosome may be more familiar under the names zserbó and krémes (Cree-mesh). The first, known here as a Gerbeaud ($2.50), takes its name from a Geneva-born confectioner and his famed Budapest bakery. Traditionally it includes chocolate, ground walnuts, and apricot jam; this rendition, in raspberry, is even more lush. The second, the house Napoleon ($3.50), de-emphasizes layers of puff pastry in favor of whipped cream and a nearly-as-light vanilla custard. Farkas offers a chocolate Napoleon, too, but that might be painting the lily.
Farkas Pastry Shoppe 2700 Lorain Ave. (West 25th-West 28th Sts.), Cleveland 216-281-6200 www.FarkasPastries.com Closed Monday and Tuesday (From a June 2016 visit)
In Switzerland, pastries such as these may be savory, like a quiche. Or they may be sweet, taking the form of a custard fruit tart made with whatever's in season. This blueberry wähe (Vay-huh, $4) featured an early crop from Rittman Orchards, several stalls down the aisle of the farmers market.
Unphotogenic but revealing: the butt end of Michelle's poppy-seed roll (half, $6). At the market stall I had no time to set up a shot of the business end, where the roll had been sliced in two; a long journey in an overfilled backpack flattened it beyond the point of fair representation. But these bursting seams tell their own tale, confirmed by slice after slice at the family house: When the ratio of poppy seeds to pastry is greater than one to one, it's likely you've got a winner. Bonus points for moistness and restrained sweetness.
Michelle's Bakery Inside the West Side Market, stall B-12 and C-12 1979 West 25th St. (at Lorain Ave.), Cleveland 216-861-9880 www.Facebook.com/MichellesBakery Open Wednesday through Sunday (From a June 2016 visit)
"Mutabbaq" (moo-Tahb-bak), an Arabic word you might transliterate any number of ways, means "folded" or "layered." Until recently I knew it best as a Southeast Asian street food whose wrapper is stretched around a savory filling. But a buddy and I flipped over this Middle Eastern version, from which we sampled a palm-sized portion ($1): It was folded around something akin to clotted cream.