Taste Test: Kiki Bakery in Irvine
Irvine is still 85 Degrees C's turf, but it isn't stopping other Taiwanese bakeries from vying for a piece of the pie. Kiki Bakery is a third the size of 85 Degrees C, but it hails from SGV, where there are more of them, in Monterey Park, Alhambra and Rowland Heights.
This is its first venture into OC, and it's currently in soft opening mode. As others of its ilk are known to do, Kiki offers bread products from what seems like the same batch of sweet dough. Almost all of its products are derived from it, molded into shiny egg-washed domes; injected with custard cream; wrapped into little danishes filled with ham and cheese.
Same as at 85 Degrees C, you walk down the aisle with tongs and a tray to pick up what you want, except since everything's pre-wrapped in plastic, you don't really need tongs.
There's a hot dog-stuffed roll, of course, but in this one the beef frank is so thickly swaddled with bread, it looks like it's wearing George Costanza's Gore-Tex parka. There's almost too much bread in this and other filled loaves. There's what I estimate to be a one to three ratio of hot dog to bun. You get full quickly and without hardly tasting the hot dog. A BBQ pork-stuffed bun is the same; the sweet bits of char sui are nearly suffocated by the bread. But a pork sung-sprinkled specimen was just right. The salty/sweet, curly, fluffy bits of dried pork looked like a toupee, but a delicious one.Right now they're offering a buy-3-for-$3.50 deal, which isn't much dough for this much, um, dough.
14250 Culver Dr Ste A Irvine, CA 92604 (949) 243-0118 http://www.kikibakery.com