I like big buns

Just take a good, hard look at these buns.

Just take a good, hard look at these buns.

Photo By Lauren Randolph

Honey Bakery

403 Keystone Ave.
Reno, NV 89503

I had my first strawberry tapioca bubble drink last Saturday ($3.75). It was so sweet and creamy and incredibly freakish. It’s easily the most fun drink I’ve had in town: chock full of vitamins and sugar and laden with sunken purple tapioca pearls that tasted a lot like soft jujubes. It made my tummy feel uncomfortable, but it comes with a large-barreled straw for sucking up the pearls, and at near the size of a marble, you can launch them further and faster than any spitball.

I found it at Honey Bakery, a Chinese bakery that takes up an end space in a Keystone Avenue strip mall, across from Sundance Books. Plan on taking your food to go because, with only one table and two stools, it’s tough to dine in. I plan to go back this Friday with some co-workers, and we’ll likely have to eat on the sunny sidewalk out front. However, during my first visit, my wife, Kat, and I had the good fortune of snagging the table.

Honey Bakery showcases loads of cookies and unnatural green and purple radioactive cakes. While Kat and I were there, a kid entered with his mom and quickly sneaked behind the counter. He was seemingly drawn to open the case and finger the cakes.

However, the main attraction is the baked buns. Honey Bakery has an immense selection. Do not fear the plastic look of those on display—the ones for eating are freshly baked and come from a warming rack, which when we visited was attended by a young woman holding a baby.

My excitement for food is in direct conflict with the restraint portion of my brain. And the restraint portion gets steamrolled when I’m presented with a large choice of tennis ball-sized buns running $1 apiece. Kat and I ate the barbeque pork bun, chicken mushroom bun, curry chicken bun, egg custard bun, pineapple and red bean bun, tuna fish bun, dry pork bun and the sausage bun. I returned to the counter three times to order more and was finally compelled to ask the woman what made the bread so wonderfully chewy.

Her answer was, “I know there’s flour.”

I never knew flour could taste so good. I would gladly eat all of those buns again, except the dry pork bun, whose filling had the texture of cotton balls, and the tuna fish bun whose description says it all: “can tuna mix with sauce.” I thought topping a red bean bun with pineapple glaze was a little overkill considering the sweetness of the dough. However, all the rest are a beautiful union of salty and sweet. And in truth, the sausage bun is far superior to American hot dogs. I would much rather wrap a cheap hot dog in a sticky, sweet bun than dry white bread any day.

I’m planning to go back to Honey Bakery because I feel a little fiendish for the buns. Some of their offerings just don’t work, and I wouldn’t even consider eating some of their cakes, but the buns I liked I craved for days afterward. I think it’s because each bun had just enough filling to tempt my tongue but never enough to quash the craving. You have to make it through a lot of bread before hitting the jackpot. While the bread truly can stand alone, I can’t stop thinking of the possibility of increased filling should Honey Bakery ever raise the price of each bun over $1.