The Georgia Straight
Traditional Korean rice cakes anchor new bakery
An international bakery chain that specializes in traditional Korean rice cakes has opened its first B.C. location in Richmond. Nam Dae Moon, which already has three locations in the Greater Toronto Area, recently staged a “soft opening” for its latest Canadian franchise, this one located in Richmond’s so-called Golden Village, in the Continental Shopping Centre.
The bakery itself is located at unit 2132 at 3779 Sexsmith Road.
David Peng, the event’s media contact, told the Straight by phone that although the shops sometimes have a few indoor tables, pandemic protocols would be followed for the opening. “It’s only a takeout place, so it’s not dine-in.”
Peng said expansion in the B.C. market, probably with two more locations in the Lower Mainland, is being contemplated for the near future but “not at the moment”. (Peng confirmed in a later emailed update that those planned locations are for Vancouver and Burnaby, but no addresses were disclosed.)
A news release described the bakery’s products as a low-sugar and healthy
snack. “Nam Dae Moon is a bakery specializing in traditional steamed Korean rice cakes known as tteok. The chain was founded by an ethnic Korean-Chinese in China based on his family’s recipes for
healthy, chewy Korean rice cakes that are low in sugar.”
Peng confirmed that characterization: “The rice cakes are actually not supersweet,” he said, adding that there are a few sweeter treats for those so inclined, including one containing a whole Ferrero Rocher chocolate-hazelnut ball as its centre and another one described as “Oreo chocolate lava”.
Personally, Peng said, he prefers the more conventional pastries. “I think that my favourites are the traditional red-bean and black-bean ones.”
Besides the Korean-style snacks, there are some Japanese-inspired goodies, including the mochi-style pastries, especially daifuku, which are stuffed with fruit such as strawberries or bananas, sweetened bean paste, taro, sweet potato, or even salted egg yolk.
Mango and durian mochi are touted as the chain’s top-rated examples. The release says that all pastries are hand-made daily, fresh-steamed, and made with natural ingredients, with plans to source “local and seasonal” products.
According to a marketing article announcing the chain’s first expansion outside of China, in Singapore in November 2019 (the same year it launched its first Toronto shop), the company has 300 outlets in China, with its flagship store in Shanghai, where it first opened in 2016.