>> Leelin Bakery & Cafe | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Leelin Bakery & Cafe


The Leelin name has only been on storefronts for the past few years, but the Leelin family is better known for their success making and expanding the Goldilocks chain throughout the country, but especially in California. As Filipino cuisine began to be marketed to non-Filipinos in New York City, a few members of the family wanted to branch off on their own and test the waters in Los Angeles. Their biggest wish? To show off the complexity of Filipino food and break the stereotypes they felt were holding it back.

Leelin Bakery & Cafe now has four locations from North Hills in the San Fernando Valley to Eagle Rock to Cerritos and the border with Orange County. This location in Wilshire Center is located in a small strip mall with a Korean sign and is flanked by a Vietnamese restaurant on one side and a South Asian one on the other. It appears to be the most modest of the four, with mainly baked goods for sale.

The other locations seem to do expansive turo-turo operations, offering steam table options served with rice, soups, and the full line of baked goods.

Right in the front on the counter is a heated case full of hopia, small flaky discs popular in both the Philippines and Indonesia where they are called bakpia pathok. In both countries, the pastries were brought by Chinese immigrants from the province of Fujian.

The star of the show is ube hopia (above and below), the Chinese puff pastry that once torn open explodes with brilliant purple yam filling. The case keeps these all warm, a hint that these should be purchased for immediate consumption to enjoy their flaky softness. The ube within is sweet but not overly so, a perfect way to start your day if paired with coffee or tea.

They also do the yellow mung bean hopia (below), which will satisfy those that prefer them. The flaky crust is just as good. Sia pao dumplings were also craved on this morning, but unfortunately this location was no longer carrying them. (Editor's note: if your craving is intense, Pampanga Master Grill in the same shopping center has them.)


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