It is a rather surreal moment. A robot is delivering a cappuccino to my table. And not just any cappuccino. This frothy beverage features my exact likeness as its latte art! Hmmm, do I really look like that??
The novelty of this personalised latte art is drawing customers to Hakko bakery in Dickson, but what keeps them coming back?
Well, for starters, their coffee is from Campos, and there are many other drinks to choose from. Check out the range of Pokémon-themed cans of flavoured sparkling water. I choose Squirtle, featuring sea salt cheese sparkling water. It is surprisingly yummy; a bit like drinking buttered popcorn.
The bakery’s cabinets feature an eye-catching array of savoury breads, buns, and baked goods much loved in Taiwan and Japan. Shallot buns, fashioned from soft sweet Taiwanese dough, embedded with vibrant green shallots and topped with shallot butter sauce. Buns stuffed with hotdogs, cheese and herbs, then grilled. Ichiban Chicken Karaage buns are just as described, crusty Taiwanese buns stuffed with Karaage chicken. Shallot Pork floss, chunks of delicious bread with pork floss, garnished in shallot and sesame.
Wowza! Where to start?
Well, I start with the sweet breads.
My matcha/mochi bun is ridiculously tender yet fluffy, with a hint of sweetness. I go to pull a strip off from the edge, but owner Jack Wang urges me to bite right into the centre where a surprise of sweet and gelatinous matcha/mochi filling lies jewel-like in its core. Jack was right. You need to have a mouthful of every component to fully appreciate this bun.
The milk bread is also soft and delicate, its sweet buttery filling as light as whipped truffle, melting away on your tongue.
The range of dessert cakes is visually perfect. I am too full to sample any, but the black sesame layer cake draws my attention and makes my mouth water. And my friend declares that the coffee roll is her absolute favourite dessert.
I come back the next day and purchase those savoury options that caught my eye. A bite into the shallot bun reveals pungent shallots, toasted sesame seeds and tender, sweet bread.
Next, I try the pork floss roll. I think it has been rolled in melted butter so the sweet/umami strands of pork floss cling to it. Inside is the softest milk bread imaginable. This is a dangerously scrumptious bread for me. I might never stop eating it.
Hakko is now serving coconut milk lattes. I have never had one before. Jack says that the icy beverage was the biggest seller in China last year, with over 100 million consumed. Ice cold and refreshing while still being rich and creamy, the latte has an almost nutty flavour to it. I wouldn’t have immediately guessed the latte was based on coconut milk, but I could drink this all day.
Long after all the other cafes are closed, Hakko is still serving coffee and baked goods. They are open until 8 pm, which is great news for locals.
Hakko is located at 8 Cape St in Dickson and is open from 10 am to 8 pm seven days a week.
Follow Hakko on Facebook to see their newest baking creations.