Western Bakeries vs Chinese Bakeries
When coming to Shenzhen China, you will quickly find that bakeries are literally on every corner. These are not your western style bakeries but have a usual list of localized desserts which could include stuffed bread, cheesecakes (nothing like American or German cheesecake), many types of toasts and egg tarts. These have their moments and I personally enjoy them on occasion – but every now and then I get a craving for a western bread such as sourdough or an authentic French baguette the search becomes very hard. Desserts such as cupcakes and pies can also seem nearly impossible to find unless you’re willing to take a trip to Hong Kong.
My first take on cake in China was a bit shocking. It reminded me also of cake in Japan. Both countries will hold on the sugar to the point of not even being unhealthy. Unfortunately for me, I was looking for a dance with diabetes but never got it. Usually in many Asian cultures, your going to see more breads then cakes and the cakes will be semi-sweet at most putting a major emphasis on fresh fruit toppings and fillings. The guilt just doesnt come when your eating these kind of desserts.
Fortunately, there are a few hidden gems around Shenzhen that offer western-style desserts. We will list western bakeries of Shenzhen that provide an alternative to the local bakery with western style desserts, bread, and pies. This list is bound to change as other bakeries begin to offer more diversity in their desserts or as new ones open – though as far as I know, these are the only western bakeries I Shenzhen.
Bakerei Thomas | German Bakery
Bakerei Thomas is one of the largest production bakeries in Shenzhen supplying bread, cakes, and desserts to many restaurants and hotels around the Shenzhen area such as the Marriott, Haxenbauer, Brew, and others. When Thomas originally moved to Shenzhen from Germany, he was working professionally in logistics for many years and would eventually find his wife here in Shenzhen. After living in Shenzhen for roughly 10 years time, his mother would later move to Shenzhen China to be with him and his family and begin working on her idea to start a bakery. The bakery idea is not new to Thomas as he has come from a long lineage of German bakers on his mother’s side.
It was shortly after that Bakerei Thomas (after his mother’s maiden name ‘Thomas’) was created and became a family business. Today bakery Thomas supplies many restaurants and western hotels with their baked goods and has locations in Shenzhen and in Sea World. The Nanshan location is their main production house dishing out over 700 hamburger buns per day for its clients as well as other baked items that go into daily rotation around the city.
The Sea World location is more of a retail location with many German, French, Italian and American baked bread and desserts such as pretzels, sourdough bread, pies, cheesecake (German), cookies, milk bread, baguettes, and many other western favorites.
One of my favorite desserts at Bakerei Thomas is a German dessert called Schneeballen. This German dessert is made by taking strips of white cake molded into a ball and deep-frying it in palm oil. It is then dipped in Chocolate. This dessert was something I’ve never seen before and had an amazing taste. When you order it at Bakerie Thomas, they will take it and break it into pieces using a hammer (it is pretty hard on the outside) and you eat it in pieces. I personally think it is perfect for a movie night or something to munch on the go.
No. 112, First Floor, Nanshan Haoting, Honghua Road,Nanshan District, Shenzhen
No.123, Zone B, Seaworld Shekou, Nanshan District , Shenzhen
Daily Treats at the Westin Hotel
Unlike many other western hotels in the area, the Westin has a team of pastry chefs and bakers that make their baked goods on a daily basis that are used in the restaurants and café’s inside the hotel. I was already in love with their steak house Grange Grill
The Daily Treats Café is the central hub where you can find most of the baked goods such as bread, croissants, Danish, cakes, chocolates, cronuts, macaroons and cheesecake, pies and much more.
There are also sandwiches, salads, and even Lasagna available for purchase and a large menu of cold and hot drinks. The most sold type of desserts here is their cakes. There are many amazing and artsy cakes at Daily Treats but a few to highlight:
Coconut mousse and mango cake, the Napoleon (cream and mixed fruit in the center of two flat glazed biscuits. There is also a French chocolate cake made with imported Chocolate which is quite dense and moist.
No.9028-2 Shennan Road, Nanshan District | The Westin Shenzhen Nanshan, Shenzhen 518053, China
+86 755 8634 8306
Les 5 Chefs has started years ago with Harry and his partner Claudio. Harry is also from Germany and has a lineage of over 500 years of cooks in his family and has brought this traditional style of cooking passed on from his family to Shenzhen China offering great German, French and Italian dishes. Their Rose Garden location also a bakery featuring many German pieces of bread, cakes, pies, pastries, and cookies all made each morning and served in this location.
This bakery is the oldest Western bakery in the Shekou area and has one the best bakery in Shenzhen away from Thatsmag for five years in a row. When you come into this bakery, you are sure to see many styles of bread, cookies, cakes, and pies. The bread is made each morning and usually sell out within a few hours so its best to go in the morning. To learn more about their lunch and dinner options click here
Sims Bakery Café is located in Shekou right across from the new Oley shopping center off Taizi road. What makes them unique and what I love about this café is that the owner Sim Serkiat makes a strong emphasis on serving with only fresh and imported organic ingredients. He doesn’t use dyes, trans fats and bread improvers, high fructose corn syrup, margarine or chemicals in his baked goods. There is also a diabetic friendly menu of bread available as well as gluten-free cakes, bread, and pizza.
Stumbling across his bakery, I immediately noticed his shelves filled with oils, vitamins, and specific ingredients that are used in his bakery. This is very rare to see in China period – much less in a bakery. Sam is originally from Singapore and has lived in Shenzhen now about 28 years making. When he first started baking, the bread he practiced with was a baguette. He searched online and find an award-winning method from a well-known French baker. Three months later he would go to Paris and try out the top bakeries – comparing his own baguette to make sure it was up to French standards. Upon returning to China, he reached out to the French community here to have them taste it. Once he was certain and happy with the overall flavor, the baguette was launched and now – the baguettes at Sim’s Bakery are the #1 best sellers.
Something else to highlight at Sim’s Bakery is the fact that they are the only bakery that makes peanut butter, garlic spread, hummus, and other spreads completely from scratch. My personal favorite is his garlic spread which can be purchased with or without turmeric.
No.104, D building ZhenXing mansion, Sea World, Shenzhen.(SeaWorld Metro Exit C).
Every Day 6am – 10pm
I only recently came across this bakery due to a tip from a friend who was a cake customer of the owner Kei Tam. Kei graduated from La Salle university majoring in culinary arts. She worked as a pastry chef at the Shangri-La Hotel in manila until 2015 and has since opened her own make to order bakery service in Shenzhen China with an actual location on the weekends by the Enigma bar in Shekou Seaworld.
If you are having a cake craving (western style) or wish to try homemade cookies, cupcakes and/or brownies – you need to give these guys a try. I only hear good things about them as they are growing and am very satisfied with the quality of their items.
I am baking fresh homemade sweet confections everyday to ensure freshness and quality of our baked goods by using high quality ingredients to make our scrumptious confections even better. We are quality and taste!
-K Tam, Pastry Chef
The four bakeries are the only Western operated bakeries in Shenzhen and are sure to fill the craving you may have for cupcakes, pies, or even hamburger buns (really hard to find in Shenzhen otherwise). If you are in need of a special cake for a birthday, wedding or any other special occasion, all bakeries can supply this need with a 24-hour heads up. If we are missing a western bakery on this list, feel free t comment below and let us now!