Cross Paths With Croissants

Croissants are a delicious breakfast food of choice with options in sweet or salty. Discover three locations in Dith a rich eating culture of its own and an ever-developing expat community, Dongguan has options for most palates.

With a rich eating culture of its own and an ever-developing expat community, Dongguan has options for most palates.

In Europe, where baked goods take a choice place in the collective consciousness of morning gourmets, the croissant holds a privileged position. One of the legends surrounding this illustrious pastry is that it was invented by Austrian bakers in Vienna to celebrate their nation’s defeat of the Umayyad troops on whose flag displayed a crescent figure. Nowadays, it is hard to hear an American pronouncing the word “croissant” without a liberal use of the French accent. No matter the true origins of this breakfast staple, the fact is that it is available in Dongguan. I decided to take a leisurely morning stroll to sample the goods at three local purveyors.

Martin’s, located in Dynatown and open from 8 am to 10 pm, bakes what can only be described as huge croissants. There are two kinds, both costing 15 RMB. The first is a classic, though large, version of the pastry seen around the world. The second, our favorite, is called a “Laugen” and looks like the love child of a croissant and a pretzel. Not much suspense here, those of you who think this sounds good are absolutely right. The salt provides added flavor and makes for a genuinely enjoyable experience. The pastries are cooked in the back and account for their freshness. Besides croissants, Martin’s boasts a world tour of pastries, American style donuts, German Berliner, Danishes and many other treats sure to please even the pickiest bakery fans.

Our second stop was Aotsukido (蓝月堂) on the third floor of Dynacity Mall, which is open from 8 am to 10 pm and offers local favorites. This a Chinese chain specializing in croissants that come in many flavors (including pork floss), ranging from 7 RMB for the original recipe to 14.5 RMB for the custard and fresh strawberry ones. The croissants were small, which is not a bad thing especially in an establishment proposing so many options.

Unfortunately, we found them to be a bit dry and lacking in flavor. All in all, the slick packaging didn’t make up for the lackluster substance and the corporate mentality seemingly more interested in the big picture than the small, tasty details.

Sharefoods Cafe
Our third and final stop was Sharefoods Cafe near One Mall, which is open from 8 am to 10 pm. With stores in Shenzhen and Dongguan, it is a Chinese-Euro style bakery and coffeeshop. Two types of croissants were on display, the ubiquitous plain one selling for 10 RMB and a caramel version costing 12 RMB. Sharefoods baked all the items on display inhouse.

Just like Goldilocks, who had to sample all the bowls of porridge before finding the one just right, the third one was the charm. It was not too big or too small. The flavor was pretty good and the texture was enjoyably fluffy. A special mention to the caramel version: the thin film of caramelized sugar which coated the croissant offered a nice balance of salty and sweet.