In case you still haven’t heard, there’s this place at Hong Lim Centre that sells really soft and irresistable bread which sells out everytime a new tray comes out of the oven. Like every other new pastry fad that hit Singapore, this stall is attracting long queues of people waiting impatiently for a bite of their buns. Such queues are a real hotbed for fights and quarrels to erupt.
Oh yeah, we Singaporeans love to queue and it is precisely because we love to queue that fights can sometimes occur. When you go to a place where there is no culture of queuing, everyone just jostle and push to get to the front, buy their thing and go away. I saw this incredible scene on TV once, I think it was in India, where the ticketing counter is just a little hole in the wall for people to stick their hand in with the money, grab their tickets and go off to celebrate the fact that they have managed to buy some tickets. I think that such places ironically have less fights than places like Singapore where there is a strong queuing culture.
While I can’t say categorically that a fight had actually broken out at Barcook Bakery, I do have first hand information that some of our makan kakis who had gone down there did get themselves involved in some less than cordial verbal exchanges with the staff of the bakery. It was something to do with someone behind the queue being served ahead of someone in front of the queue. Thankfully fights don’t actually break out all that often given that all of us would somehow be in a queue somewhere in any given week. Aside from being affected by those Courtesy Campaigns (I can still remember the jingles), I think a lot has to do with the fact that Singaporeans are not as verbal as say, the Americans or Australians. So a lot of the time we would rather just keep quiet rather than speaking out should we happen to see someone cut the queue. So actually fights don’t actually break out all that often and when it does, it gets reported in the New Paper.
Anyway, I managed to get to the front of the queue without incident and lucky for me, there was a tray of the famed Cheese and Raisin Buns which just came out of the oven. So I quickly bought a few and took a photo of a tray of the buns above. Believe me, a tray full of the buns is not a very common sight.
One of the reasons for the perpetual queue, aside from the fact that the buns are absolutely delectable when they are fresh out of the oven, is that all the bread here is made with the Sponge and Dough method which is a technique of baking sweet dough buns which takes more time than the normal sweet dough buns. Essentially, the Sponge and Dough technique is a two step process where the dough is allowed a first rise, followed by a second step where the rest of the ingredients are added, followed by a second rise. The result is a sweet dough with a silky soft texture. This technique is no big secret but there are few bakeries which will bake all their breads this way because it is very time consuming.
The Cheese and Raisin buns are one of the best sweet dough buns I have come across. The texture is very good and their creamed cheese filling is generous and creamy but not overly jialak. When eaten fresh out from the oven, it must be one of the most shiok things you can get your hands on for around a dollar. 4.5/5
As they say, “all good things come to those who wait” (no idea where that phrase came from). So if you are willing to wait in the queue for a while, you will be rewarded with a very nice treat for afternoon tea indeed! But remember to be patient, take it easy and don’t fight, ok?