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There are few things more popular in Toronto than a cute storefront housing a glistening assortment of freshly-made, eye-catching, creamy, colourful, sweet and savoury treats. Add innovation and a proud immigrant story to the mix, and we lose our minds. Having celebrated its soft opening on August 28, LÀ LÁ Bakeshop is the newest bakery selling out of goodies in the face of hungry locals eager for a taste.
Owned by a group of Vietnamese and Vietnamese-Canadian friends, LÀ LÁ Bakeshop was dreamed up as a COVID-era home bakery. Its mission? To delight the people of Toronto with baked goods infused with authentic Vietnamese flavours. With a focus on modern presentations and refined techniques, the menu includes a mix of salty and sweet goods. “I was sure that the concept of a modern Vietnamese bakery could be a success in the city,” says co-founder Brian Tran. Based on the reception so far, which Tran describes as “mind-blowing, totally beyond any of our expectations,” it seems that he was absolutely right.
The team, led by head baker Harry Pham, is now offering up its unique baked goods from a new store at 346A Bloor Street West. There, customers can satisfy snack cravings with an assortment of buns, loaves and croissants flavoured with salted egg, scallion and cured sausage, bánh mì, and more.
Sweets highlight popular Asian ingredients from durian and pandan to black sesame and matcha. “We want to take a risk and introduce to a mainstream audience items that are wildly popular among the Vietnamese diaspora but unheard of to many readers,” says Tran.
Two weeks into soft-opening, top-sellers include cakes that find pork floss set atop sweet roll cakes made with cream cheese, roasted seaweed or salted egg. The results are mildly sweet and delicately savoury. Then, there’s the marvel of the shop’s sweet and salty Salted Egg Roll Cake with butter custard, salted egg sauce and crumbled salted egg. Coconut Sticky Rice Cheesecake combines pandan-infused sticky rice and fluffy chiffon cake with coconut cream cheese sauce.
“Once we get our bearings,” says Tran, “we will introduce new products on a monthly basis.” For now, the team is just trying to keep up with overwhelming demand, which is sure to snowball after the store’s grand opening this Saturday, September 18.
With its high-calibre eats, cute aesthetic and inviting, friendly service, LÀ LÁ Bakeshop seems poised for the type of success co-founder Tran predicted.