Jong Sik Lee of Hodo Kwaja (656 Bloor West, at Manning, 416-538-1208) has been churning out upwards of 100 dozen Korean walnut cakes every hour at his west-side bakery for the past 14 years. To produce such numbers of these toasty six-for-a-buck minidoughnuts filled with sweet red bean, almond or walnut paste, he uses a hydraulically powered assembly-linelike machine that steams rather than bakes his golden nuggets to a Timbit crisp. In a more conventional manner, Lee also turns out super Proustian madeleines and winter-warming griddle cakes stuffed with stir-fried veggies that reference pupusas.
Up in Pacific Mall's food court, Tung Tung Dan Quen King (4300 Steeles East, at Kennedy, 905-948- 1288) makes crisply crusted crepes dusted with confectioner's sugar that look like waffles but taste like ginger snaps. They're perfect for snacking on from a paper bag while navigating the mega mall's maze of discount electronics shops. Back downtown, one of the better Chinatown tray 'n' tong joints where customers using plastic tongs to help themselves cafeteria-style to Chinese-style buns from plastic-covered bins is Furama Cake and Dessert Garden (248 Spadina, at Cameron, 416-504-5709). The real attraction isn't the preponderance of savoury cakes stuffed with hot dog wieners, but Furama's stellar Westernized desserts, especially the house's moderately priced green tea cheesecake and chocolate-crusted tart piped with convincingly creamy mousse made from taro.
The grandmother of all local Asian bakeries is Yung Sing (22 Baldwin, at McCaul, 416-979-2832), a friendly family-run spot that's been in business since 1968, back when Baldwin Village was a hippie enclave instead of a hip resto strip. Why, its ham-andegg breakfast bun pre-dates the Egg McMuffin by several years! Overflowing with rubber plants - a nice change from the usual plastic - Yung Sing also features dim sumstyle savouries like wonton-wrapped shrimp rolls, sticky rice pyramids wrapped in banana leaf and first-rate weekends-only har gow and shiu mai.