Asian Sweet Bakery
South Park Street just keeps getting sweeter. The latest ethnic restaurant to pop up is Asian Sweet Bakery, a small storefront tucked into the corner of Lakeside and South Park in the Bay Creek neighborhood. Owner Ken Yan is no stranger to offering great Asian fare in and around Madison. He is co-owner of the popular Imperial Garden restaurant and owns Asian Midway foods, also on Park Street, and Garden Asian Market, a gas station/Chinese takeout restaurant in Middleton.
Yan’s newest place came about after noticing a demand for Chinese baked goods, which he has been shipping in from Chicago. After the prior renters (the former Carnival’s ice cream shop) did not renew their lease at the current bakery location, Yan decided to turn the small space into a Chinese bakery—the first of its kind in Madison. The small kitchen in the back turns out fresh steamed buns, cream-filled sweet rolls topped with shredded dried pork, chocolate mousse roll, hot dog pieces wrapped in a soft bread (a Chinese pig-in-a-blanket), cheese breads, mango mousse cake and much, much more. Their most popular item is the egg custard: lightly sweetened, creamy custard served in a personal size pie crust that’s easily devoured after a bowl of shrimp wonton soup.
That’s right, not only do they offer a variety of Chinese bakery items, but they also serve a small selection of lunch items from 11:30 a.m.–7 p.m. daily. Breakfast is served all day (9 a.m.–7 p.m.). A staff lunch favorite is the fish with pickled mustard greens, and the fried intestine, which an employee swore she didn’t like before eating it there. Yan suggests the crepes. Made from only rice flour, they can be filled with beef, barbecue pork or eaten plain. Popular breakfast items include satay pork with rice noodles, pot stickers with pork congee, or Spam with egg noodle soup served with coffee or milk tea.
Can’t decide between lunch or bakery? Follow the example of one of the many customers I saw on a recent visit. Enjoy your lunch at one of the several tables inside, and then take a selection of bakery home for later. There’s no more satisfying way to celebrate Madison’s culinary and cultural diversity.
Asian Sweet Bakery
1017 S. Park St., 665-3988
Originally printed in Madison Magazine Sept 2014