K-Lin Bao 克林台包, Tainan

As this is not a food review on K-Lin Bao (克林台包), the post will be kept brief and short. In fact, meat bun is not a particularly new item to me, and to many of us. The only difference between K-Lin meat bun (八宝肉包) and the meat buns I grew up with is - this bun uses salted egg yolk pieces while the Singapore version typically includes hard-boiled egg pieces.

There are also crystal dumpling (水晶饺) and vegetarian mushroom buns (菇菇包) which are good but nothing to wow about. Perhaps the only highlight is how they kept the handmade buns tradition alive. In addition, the most interesting aspect of K-Lin is its history, transforming from a supermarket then to a pastry/bun store now.

K-Lin started off as a supermarket in Tainan, a supermarket that provided many imported food items from Japan, Europe and America. Though K-Lin is still around today, it is now more famous for its meat buns.

As I am writing this, it reminded me of a similar supermarket which is already non-existent in Singapore. Does anyone here knows Tay Buan Guan supermarket? K-Lin and Tay Buan Guan are very similar, both established in the 1950s, started off as supermarkets that sells imported food products, and have a bakery/pastry shop. Tay Buan Guan became quite famous for one of its savory pastries as well - chicken pies! Just like how K-Lin became known for its meat buns.

The only difference is K-Lin has survived till today; however, in Singapore, traditional supermarket business cannot keep up with the economics of modern supermarkets and lost to competition.

If you are visiting Tainan, you can also try these snacks/street-food, and don't forget Tainan's famous Milkfish porridge.


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