Don’t be mistaken. The Pineapple Bun aka Bolo Bun 菠蘿包 (sometimes spelt as “Polo Bun”) contains no pineapples.
The name is originated between the golden-brown top crust is checkered and resembles the epicarp of a pineapple.
The Hong Kong Government listed the pineapple bun as a part of Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage in 2014.
Over in Singapore, the Bolo Bun has always typically part of an extensive menu served in cha chaan teng or one of the many items in bakeries, but shops such as Joy Luck Teahouse and Champion Bolo have given this some attention.
A good Bolo Bun has a sugary top crust, fluffy dough and buttery crust. Here are 10 places you can find Bolo Buns in Singapore:
Champion Bolo Bun
92 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088513
Opening Hours: 11am – 7pm (Sun, Tues – Thurs), 11am – 10pm (Fri – Sat), Closed Mon
Yes, not reading wrongly. $4.50 for a single Bolo Bun (whereas it can be a dollar plus elsewhere), but demand has been quite strong for its offerings.
Champion Bolo Bun at 92 Tanjong Pagar is considered rather unusual in Singapore’s context as it has an an entire 3-storey cafe modern dedicated on selling just Bolo Bao.
Their menu is short and concise, focusing mainly on Bolo Buns: Classic ($4.50), Classic with Butter ($5), Curry Potato ($6), Mini (4 for $4.50).
Each Bolo bun comes in individual takeaway box, freshly made upon order and best consumed within 20 minutes.
I must say they are one of the best Bolo Buns I had in Singapore, extremely soft and fluffy cotton-like buns that separate easily. Yet the bun was extremely chewy with the right amount of sweetness.
The surprise came when you sink your teeth into the golden-brown cookie-like crust on top that is iconic to Bolo Buns – crispy and crunchy outer layer that is firm and non-soggy.
The contrast in textures between the crunchy golden crust on top and fluffy bread beneath was of the right balance. Limited opening hours. Champion Bolo Bun (Tanjong Pagar)
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
Carlton Hotel Singapore, 76 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189558
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6:30pm – 10pm (Mon – Sat), 11am – 2:30pm, 6:30pm – 10pm (Sun)
Wah Lok’s Baked Barbecued Pork Buns ($6 for serving of 3 pcs), also known as “Bo Lo Bun”, is a famed favourite among many diners.
Note that it is available only lunch time in the dim sum menu.
The Bo Lo Buns are handmade fresh daily by Wah Lok’s dim sum chefs, then baked with a golden crisp crust.
I had many Bolo Buns in various dim sum restaurants, and I still find Wah Lok’s one of the best around. There was something soft about its texture, and buttery-sweetness in the dough.
The winning point is when you taste that flavourful and moist-saucy barbecued pork encased within the light fluffy buns.
Joy Luck Teahouse
#B4-61 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Joy Luck Teahouse’s Pineapple Bun Butter ($3) uses recipe sourced from Hong Kong’s Kam Kee Café.
Kam Kee Café started more than 50 years ago, originally as a dai pai dong at Shau Kei Wan which grew to a famous cha chaan teng at Sheung Wan (Sai Ying Pung).
The classic cha chaan teng staple which is baked fresh within the store itself, and comes with sweet, crumbly golden crust. There was some consistency issues during the starting days and may differ store to store, but apparently they made an update to the recipe to make it more suitable for Singapore.
Available in original, butter, luncheon meat and kaya versions. Get the Bo Lo Yau which has fragrant premium butter in the middle that melts within the soft warm bread.
There is newly launched Milo Pineapple Bun. This version is said to be inspired by the nostalgic childhood treat of spreading Milo powder on bread aka “Milo Sandwich”.
The Milo powder adds an interesting chocolate-malty flavour within, though I would recommend eating this fresh after buying from store as the powder may clump up in the humidity. Joy Luck Teahouse (ION Orchard)
Crystal Jade My Bread
Holland Village, 2 Lor Mambong, Singapore 277671
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Crystal Jade’s Bo Lo Buns are available at both Crystal Jade MyBread retail stores, as well as for dine-in and take-away at Crystal Jade Hong Kong Kitchen outlets.
Over at Crystal Jade MyBread, they sell three types which include the Classic Bolo Bun ($1.90), Lava Salted Egg Yolk Bolo Bun ($2.80), and Honey BBQ Pork Bolo Bun ($2.40); while Crystal Jade Hong Kong Kitchen offers the Baked Crispy Honey BBQ Pork Bolo Bun ($4.50 for 2pcs).
I find their Bolo Buns quite dependable. CJ’s rendition is a traditional golden-brown pastry with a sweet bun base and an almost-crackly golden yellow crust.
To me, the crust feels like it is on the sweeter side, but it balances well with the savoury in-house and rather sticky BBQ pork fillings.
Legendary Hong Kong Restaurant 港飲港食餐廳
63 Jurong West Central 3, #03-80 Provisional Unit Jurong Point 2 Shopping Center, Singapore 648331
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 10pm (Sat – Sun)
Legendary Hong Kong is the highlight within this made-up Mongkok district at Jurong Point.
The interior is modelled like an old-school HK Cha Chaan Teng, serving a spread of roast meats, pastry, toasts, noodles, congee and dim sum.
The Bolo Bun or Custard Crust Bun comes in original version ($1.60), with butter ($3.30) or with salted egg yolk fillings ($6 for 3 pcs).
Go for the Custard Crust Buns with Salty Egg Yolk Filling with a crispy bolo bun exterior and oozy salted egg custard fillings, which is a cross between Bolo Bun and Liu Sha Bao.
You get a combination of sweet and salty, and crispy and molten. Though I read that sometimes the fillings are not as flowy as it should be.
Tai Cheong Bakery Café
Holland Village, 31 Lor Liput, Singapore 277742
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
For over 6 decades, Tai Cheong Bakery has captured the hearts of Hong Kong-ers across generations with their Signature Egg Tart. It is ranked No. 1 in Hong Kong and in global media.
But perhaps some may miss their Bolo Bun compared to their other star products.
Tai Cheong Bakery’s Bolo Bun ($2.40) has crust that are made with pure butter (as opposed to some recipes which use margarine), made with a traditional recipe from their baker in Hong Kong.
The dough is airier and lighter than the usual, though I would have preferred the crust to have better crisp on the outer layer.
Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard #01-K7, Tower 4 East Wing, Singapore 038983
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 11am – 10:15pm (Fri – Sun)
While most of the brands associated with Bolo Buns are from Hong Kong, Kazo is a Taiwanese bakery and confectionery cafe.
To maintain the standards and taste of the products from its parent store Nichifu, ingredients used in their store in Singapore are specially flown in from Taiwan regularly.
Signature item is the Kazo Polo ($2.50), available in original or special variants ($3.00) such as golden lava, Hokkaido, chocolate, and chicken floss.
The Polo boosted a delightful crusty puff pastry and airy texture on the inside, though I wished it was overall more buttery.
Honolulu Café Singapore
The Centrepoint #01-33 F, Orchard Road, G 176, Singapore 238843
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Sun – Thurs), 11am – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
Quite interestingly, Honolulu Café Singapore offers 5 different flavours of the Polo Bun – Original Crispy Polo Bun, Char Siew Polo Bun, Red Bean Crispy Polo Bun, Coffee Crispy Polo Bun, and Buttered Crispy Polo Bun.
Each cost between $1.70 to $2.30. There is also a version called Hawaiian Polo Bun ($14.80) sandwiched with thick-cut luncheon meat, pineapple and cheese.
The Original Crispy Polo Bun ($1.70) uses recipe which originated from Hong Kong in the 1960s. While I liked the golden-yellow colour, I wished that the skin could have been crispier.
You can also try the Coffee Crispy Polo Bun ($1.90), a special creation for the Singapore outlet.
So Good Char Chan Tang
13 Stamford Road, #01-17/18 Capitol Singapore, Singapore 178884
Opening Hours: 8am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
The popular cha chaan teng found at Midview City Sin Ming Lane and 111 Somerset has opened a new outlet at Capitol Singapore.
Created with a recipe by Hong Kong chefs, the Polo Bun with Butter ($2.30) is good as a tea-time snack.
The outer layer is not as checkered as the usual, but the outer layer still had the crustiness and pleasant sugared-buttery layer. The inside texture was on the softer doughy side.
The New And Old Café
10 Anson Road, International Plaza 01-11, Singapore 079903 (along Choon Guan Street)
Tel: +65 8797 7775
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 7pm (Mon – Fri), 10:30am – 7:30pm (Sat), Closed Sun
You may not have expected to find Hong Kong style buns and Milk Tea here. The owner Edmund has R&D for almost half a year to achieve the silky and smooth texture of the HK Style Milk Tea, and I enjoyed the lingering bitterness without being overpowering or siap siap.
The Bolo Bun with Luncheon Meat ($4.50) was the other recommended – relatively crispy on the outer layer, with a moderately thick and soft slice of spam within.
These buns came pre-baked, and oven-ed upon order to maintain the slight crispy layer (so factor in waiting time). I wished the outer layer had more sugared-crunchiness, but the texture within was considered fluffy. The New and Old Café (Tanjong Pagar)
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