Lining up for Bread of Life @ Portsmouth Square
on the way to our Chow Lunch I noticed the long line of folks waiting to buy baked goods at the Corner of Washington & Walter Lum Place / Portsmouth Square ...... talked about it briefly during our lunch conversation. Bread of Life is the bakery - according to their website they are a charity that helps immigrants with adjustments to living in their newly adopted country. They also have a presence at the Old Oakland Farmer's Market - selling box lunches.
http://heraldbreadoflife.com/ In the mid/late morning they pull up with a truck full of freshly baked goods. dinner rolls, filled buns ..... just in case you're curious .
Jonathan Kauffman, was at the Portsmouth Square location and liked the pineapple buns, I think, in that he suggested that you "[c]ontrast the waifish, even crumb of a storebought dinner roll against the granular crunch of the top coating," (see his last two paragraphs):
Here are some pictures I took about 2 months ago of their cafe and bakery at 530 8th St in Old Oakland as well as their retail shop at 395 9th St in Oakland Chinatown.
I talked to a manager at the bakery and he said that the net profits are used for the Chinese Christian Herald Crusades, a non-profit which, according to their website, serves the needs of new immigrants and is next door to the bakery at 532-536 8th Street.
They have bbq pork buns, sausage buns and other items for $1 to $1.25 for a convenient plastic tray with a 3 count inside. The bbq bun contained small pieces of pork inside with a sweetish sauce and was notable for a lack of fat or gristle in the meat. The sausage bun was made with Foster Farms turkey dogs which I viewed as a plus for those wanting an alternative to pork products and for those who prefer a name-brand filling.
Though I'm not an expert on Chinese buns, I liked their offerings for what seemed to be higher-quality ingredients, as pointed out by the manager at the bakery, and the convenience/speed of getting the prepackaged trio in a tray, even though they may not fit into the tastes of those who appreciate more traditional styles.
I also found the staff at the 9th Street Oakland Chinatown site to be friendly and charming. They recognized me on just my second visit and I felt the warmth of their smiles evident in the next to last photo (from left to right, Rosanna, Peter and Anna, if my memory serves correctly) was sincere.
Bread of Life Bakery and Cafe
530 8th St
Oakland, CA 94607
(a few doors west of Washington St in Old Oakland
)(both facilities closed on Sunday and Monday)
and a retail outlet with only a few chairs at
395 9th Street
(in Oakland Chinatown across the street from the Pacific Renaissance Plaza)