Hogan Bakery, my best friend in Taipei

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Since I've been back from Australia and New Zealand, I've really wanted nothing to do with Chinese or Taiwanese food. I've sought out Mexican food at Macho Tacos (twice. The second time was infinitely better), Italian food, American food. Where most places in Taipei fail to give me the kind of flavor I'm looking for, there are a handful of places that do it right, and consistently.

Hogan Bakery is one of them. I wrote about it at the beginning of the year, not long after I arrived. Since then, I've tried just about every product that has appealed to me and I have yet to stumble across something that I don't enjoy! Hogan has never let me down.

This summer, Hogan offered a slew of pumpkin breads and pastries, ranging from those with pumpkin seeds to puff pastries with sweet pumpkin purée. Imagine my delight when I saw these -- I, the lover of all things pumpkin -- out of season, at least by American standards. I tried two pumpkin products and was overjoyed, though they weren't as cinnamony (or cinnamony at all) as they would have been had they been made in the U.S.

The pumpkin products have disappeared recently, replaced by a new line of foccacias and "naan" breads. This tomato oregano "naan" is, hands down, the best thing I've eaten from Hogan's.

I've had this three times already, and let me tell you ... when this baby's fresh out of the oven, it's like Italy in your mouth. It's more like a really flat calzone or a flatbread shaped into a pita than a naan (obviously), stuffed with the freshest tomato sauce I've ever tasted. And mozzarella cheese, oregano, yada. But it's the tomato sauce that really makes this bread. The tomato flavor is so vibrant -- tart in only the best ways a tomato can be, and zesty, too. It's like a personal-sized, one-handed, easy-to-eat pizza.

Crispy on the outside, ooey on the inside

The new line of focaccias 

So far, I've tried the rosemary and sea salt focaccia, the sun-dried tomato and olive focaccia (a surprisingly nice balance between salty and sweet), and the focaccia below, the mushroom and cheese focaccia.

What's interesting (or maybe not so much) about this focaccia is that the mushrooms used were not your typical boulangerie's choice of mushroom (which, in my mind, would be a truffle or whatever else type of mushroom is usually used in baking situations). They were shiitake mushrooms. My mouth didn't really know what to do with this information ... while I would have preferred a truffle or truffle oil, having shiitake on my focaccia was not a bad experience. It was chewy and flavorful, albeit an unexpected flavor -- Italian with an Asian twist!

Very chewy

Chocolate "danish" croissant which I've yet to try, 
but I'm sure it'll be excellent like everything else.

I've tried things that I didn't think would taste good, and they tasted good. For me, Hogan is almost like a home away from home ... if seeking a haven and solace in food is what you're after.

No. 18, Alley 265, Xinyi Road Section 4, Da'an District of Taipei
No. 11, Songgao Road, B2, Xinyi District of Taipei (Xinyi Eslite store)
No. 7, Xianmin Street Section 2, B1, Banciao
No. 54-10, Kangning Road Section 3, Donghu

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