Category Archives: Bakeries

Western Breakfast at CF Cafe

There are two reasons why I would ever eat Pizza Hut’s food. They can receive orders in English if you call them for delivery. Also, they do scrambled eggs and French toast breakfasts up until 10:30. Given Pizza Hut’s wide reach, that’s highly convenient if you are traveling through unfamiliar places in China. In Changzhou, however, there are some places that offer a western styled breakfast with higher quality food. CF Cafe is one of those establishments.


The food here has always been of high quality. Their cakes, breads, sandwiches, and pizza are all worth the trip. However so are their breakfasts, and the prices are roughly the same as Pizza Hut. As implied earlier, the quality of their offerings are much, much better.


This is scrambled eggs with salmon. It came with a fried tomato and a salad with Japanese style dressing. This cost about 45 RMB. For me, salmon is a very rich-tasting fish. There is only so much of it I can eat in one sitting. The portion here was just about the right amount. While I enjoyed this, I liked the next dish even more.


The baked beans and the tomato makes me think this is a more British styled breakfast than American, but that that’s really splitting hairs. So this is basicaly scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms. Other sides include a breakfast sausage and potatoes. This runs about 55 RMB. That’s roughly similar to what I normally pay at Pizza Hut. Maybe it’s 5 RMB more, but I will gladly play the difference.

These two options are not the only breakfast choices CF Cafe has to offer. However, this category of food is just another indication of the quality you can find here, whether you are seeking breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

CF Cafe is located in Taihu Road in Xinbei and is across the street from the media tower and complex. It’s walking distance from Wanda Plaza and it’s BRT station.

Tartine: Rembrance of Pastries Past

Sometimes, smells and tastes can elicit extremely old memories. Just ask Marcel Proust. In Swann’s Way, a madeleine cake sparks an involuntary memory that fills out the rest of a novel. That novel leads to six more after it that is now most commonly remembered as Remembrance of Things Past. I had a similar experience once, but it wasn’t nearly as epic as Proust’s masterpiece. In fact, it would be quite silly to compare me and anything I have done to Proust. I just know involuntary memory is real, and it really does happen. The older you get, the more it happens.

For a long time, I used to ride my ebike past Tartine on Jinling Road in Downtown Changzhou. It’s a French bakery. Normally, I had places to go and people to meet, so I never stopped. One day, however, I let curiosity get the better of me, and I walked in. The smell of the place was like a punch to the face that sent me reeling for a bit. The smell of fresh baguettes mixed with the sweet scent of pastry dough. For a long moment, I just stood in the door, motionless. In my mind, I was back in Belgium, and I was 1990. I had recently discovered Slayer, and I had South of Heaven in my portable cassette player and blaring through headphones. I was on my skateboard, and the smell of a patisserie made me stop, kick up my board, and walk in — even when I didn’t know what I wanted to buy or even the French words to buy it with. I just knew there was something in that patisserie I had to have.


Years later, somebody saying “Huānyíng guānglín! (欢迎光临!)” brought be back to reality. I blinked a few times and looked at the Chinese woman behind Tartine’s counter. Nearby, there were chocolate croissants, apple danishes, and so much more.  Since it was lunch time, I opted for the quiche, which they promptly warmed up for me and served with a glass of water.


And? Simply put, that was like more than a year ago, and it is still the best quiche I have ever had in Changzhou. Back then, I took a picture of it and posted it on Wechat. Some of my Chinese friends gave me interested, but really puzzled responses like “Is that pizza?” I had to tell them it wasn’t — that is was eggs, mushroom, other veggies, and ham in a pie crust. Even more, the baguettes and pastries here are also quite good and arguable some of the best in Changzhou, but I always return for the Tartine’s quiche more than anything else.


Changzhou Starbucks vs. Jersey Starbucks

Starbucks in Changzhou

This is a given: Starbucks in America is not the same as Starbucks for China. This is common with any international food chain — just compare the menus of Chinese KFC, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut and their American counterparts. In some ways, it’s interesting to compare how they are different.

In the case of Starbucks, the bake case provides the most stark contrast. In Changzhou, Starbucks display cases look spare, almost bleak. There is a lot of empty space, and some of that space is filled with single rows of the same product. You know? so many peices of the same type of cheese cake sitting next to each other. The baked goods also share space with bottled drinks, sandwiches, and packaged salads. If you go later in the evening, the bake case looks even more empty.

Starbucks in the USA is a different story. Sure, there may be some gaps. However, the most noticable difference is the variety. You don’t have a case sparsely filled by single plates of the similar types of cakes. In America, there are multiple types of cookies, cakes, and pies.

So, it goes without saying. Starbucks in the USA is better. But, that being said, even with the reduced options, Starbucks in Changzhou seems a lot better than the other chains like Costa or Cafe 85. But that’s just my opinion.

Starbucks in New Jersey

Fast Food Salad at Paris Baguette


So, a friend of mine recently told me, with much excitement, that there was a new place to get ready-made sandwiches in downtown Changzhou. And since I like a good sandwich, I felt the need to check it out. The place turned out to be Paris Baguette, and while sounds extremely French, it’s actually a Korean chain that specializes in French style baked goods.

The place offers a lot of tempting sweet things in display cases. There is also an open-air refrigerated unit also showcases a variety of wrapped sandwiches and boxed salads. I opted for a sandwich and a salad. The sandwich — with sincere apologies to my friend — left me unimpressed. I just won’t get into it. The salad, on the other hand, was okay.

But let me qualify that “okay,” these salads are better than Starbucks. The city center has like six Starbucks, and all of them serve takeaway salads. Those usually seem relatively skimpy. For example, the pepper beef one his like two rubbery slices of meat and a lot of lettuce. At least, the last one of those I had was like that. Paris Baguette’s salads seemed a little bit better.

However, let’s be real for a moment. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, than these salads are simply not for you. The might just be another frustrating example of how Changzhou doesn’t have a lot to satisfy particular dietary needs. The one I had featured bits of shredded chicken and Chinese bacon. The other option had cheese in it. As for me, it’s just fast food salad on the go; and sometimes I find that appealing. It’s better option than McDonalds or Burger King when you do not have a lot of time.

As for the lackluster sandwich, I will return someday and try a different one. The location is selling-point convenient, however. It’s on Beidajie 北大街, near the Luqiao Market and the New Century department store. That means its across the Yanling Road from Nandajie.