The Taiwanese Bakery Chain That’s Better Than Starbucks — Cult Following

The Taiwanese Bakery Chain That’s Better Than Starbucks — Cult Following


– [Serena] 85°C Bakery and Cafe has been called the Starbucks of Taiwan. And people go crazy over it. – It’s hella moist, like, hella moist. – [Serena] It has more
than one thousand locations around the world, and
every time a new one opens, lines can get as long as
four hours with people looking to grab some Taiwanese snacks. The bakery serves treats
like egg tarts, sweet bread, taro cakes and cheesy hot dog buns alongside everyone’s favorite, boba tea. 85 Degrees took off
during the boba tea phase and now it’s a bona fide
Taiwanese phenomenon. I’ve heard a lot about
it but I’ve never been. So I invited fans Hudson Yang
from ABC’s Fresh off the Boat and his father Jeff to show
me the ropes at the 85 Degrees in Torrance, California, a
significantly-Asian suburb outside of L.A. – He’s strategizing
over what to eat first, it’s just like… (laughs) – What’s your favorite? Let’s start with that. – [Hudson] Egg tarts, are
like, everyone loves them. They’re really flaky. – [Jeff] It’s like an egg
custard in the middle– – [Hudson] Yeah.
– [Jeff] Right? Mm.
– Mm! – It’s a good version of an egg tart, you see this everywhere. – Yeah. But these are super light. You could eat 20 of them, and I think Hudson may have at one point. (Serena and Jeff laugh) – Hudson, when did you
first try one of these? I mean, was it at home, was it out? – This was back in New York. I had one of this when I was four or five. I grew up with that stuff,
so I know the stuff very well and, well, I love it. (all laugh) – I grew up in Knoxville,
Tennessee, where really were not a ton of Chinese people. My parents are immigrants. – So what did you guys do when you needed your fix of Chinese food? (Serena laughs) Was there anywhere to go? – So we would drive to Atlanta,
like six hours or whatever, to pick out, go to the
grocery stores there to get stuff that we need. And there was like one
authentic Chinese restaurant that we would go to. Then we went to Chinese American places like buffets and stuff– – Oh yeah. – Not even to, as much to eat, but as a place to gather and hang out. – There may be sort of nominal
disdain for Chinese American cuisine, but if you don’t
have a church around then you gather around
the Chinese restaurant. (Serena and Jeff laugh). – It’s like– – [Serena] Yeah. – The social gathering
hall for Chinese folk. I mean, he’s lucky ’cause he’s never lived or spent large amounts of time anywhere where there wasn’t Chinese food– – I mean there’s Chinese
food everywhere nowadays. – Within like an hour’s distance. (Serena and Jeff laugh) – Yeah, there really is. – You can go where like,
the middle of Mexico and there’ll be Chinese food. – And since being on
the show have you felt the need to learn more
about Taiwanese culture? – I mean honestly, before the show I did know a lot about it. Sometimes there are food
that I do need to learn about that I find on the show. I did learn how they always
use every single part of the– – Of the chicken, or– – Of the animals. – Yeah, I saw that episode. I liked it. (laughs) (plate slams, chicken squishes) – Using every part of the chicken like a meat wizard. (in Chinese) – There’s not a single part of the chicken that I feel like Taiwanese
would not use in some fashion. – [Serena] Yeah.
– Except maybe the feathers. – The feathers and the beak,
that’s about it (Serena laughs) – Oh yeah, boba tea is like– – Also super Taiwanese, if you visit Taiwan–
– But everybody has it now. I got mine with lychee
and mango jelly and boba. – Taiwanese have this
fascination with textures, that’s why you have so
many more sort of glutinous and creamy and crunchy things all happening in the same bites. The idea of boba tea, of putting
actual food in your drink, if you will, sort of substantial things that you have to chew and
swallow while you’re drinking, that’s something that came out of Taiwanese culture really easily. – Next up let’s go to
the marble taro bread. – It actually has a fairly subtle flavor and that’s the kind of
thing that Taiwanese tend to reflexively inject into
anything. (Jeff and Serena laugh) – Yeah, it’s not super sweet. It’s really creamy, the very starchiness from a root vegetable is in there. – So much for my paleo diet (all laugh). – No, this is not paleo. – [Jeff] No! (laughs) – Why do you end up
coming here in particular? Why is this better? – They actually do very authentic stuff but they also do some
twists on the authentic Taiwanese versions–
– Normalities. – Of the foods. Yeah. So for instance this here,
this pineapple bread, it’s an incredibly Taiwanese thing. And it’s called pineapple bread because it looks like a pineapple. There’s no pineapple flavor in it. In addition to having the
sort of standard bor lor bao, or pineapple bread, they
also have things like pineapple bread danishes and croissants and so on and so forth so they–
– It’s just inspired– – Yeah, exactly.
– By the flavors that you would find in a
traditional Taiwanese bakery. Thank you so much for
bringing me to 85 Degrees. This was such a treat. – Thank you for free food! (All laugh) – If you like this episode, click here to watch more Cult Following.