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Feb 2, 2014 08:18 AM

Montreal Chinese Butter-Roll (butta-lo) recipe

Hi all, use to buy this "butter roll" all the time in Montreal Chinatown but now moved to the US and can't find this anywhere. I was told that this pastry is a special Montreal-only specialty just like Montreal bagels, smokemeat, poutine, etc.. Has anyone made this or know how to make this? I miss my '"butta-lo" (toisanese) !!! thanks

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  1. Your post brought up lots of nice kidhood memories of fresh, warm, melty rolls from the coffee shop underneath the Nanking. I wish I knew someone who makes or sells them too! (Hint,hint)

    3 Replies
    1. re: chilipepper

      Yep, I believe it was called "Hoa Hoa" ! : )

      1. re: chilipepper

        Still love my "butter roll/butta-lo" after all these years as they are now sold at Jardin de Jade (bakery at the entrance of the buffet restaurant across from the old Hoa Hoa), yum!

        1. re: yamiam

          Funny I don't feel they taste the same, drier, less gooiness. Maybe things taste better in kidhood memory. ;)
          Good ol' Cafe Ho Ho (toisanese!).

      2. those butter rolls are legendary in a certain generation of Montrealers Just this Christmas, a few of us reminisced about them, drooling one and all. Do you remember their delicious pound cake sold in a loaf or by the slice I can still remember the special texture and taste and have never had it anywhere or been able to replicate it. Their boston cream Everyone knows Ho Ho and nobody's ever been able to duplicate those rolls.

        1. Ahh nostalgia. I have sweet memories of my grandpa Hersh taking me around our great city in his Coupe de ville. He was the first and greatest Montreal chowhound I ever met, we ate in some wonderful and exotic places. Sometimes we would end up near Craig street and would inevitably go to chinatown. Zaidie would stop in the Lodeo cafe to have a Metaxa on the rocks,with the old Greek owners while I woul be babysat by Mr Wong one block west. at the Hao How Cafe. They would spoil me with a heavenly pung kik [POUND CAKE] and glass bottles of Coca cola. .Neighborhood chefs on their coffee breaks would teach me Chinese, well mostly cuss words. Well years went by old Hersh went to his final reward . At the attorney offices my cousin Fiona gave me a notebook of zadie Hersh recipes. It was fascinating to see that the chinatown recipe for brioche au beurre included a certain substitution of lard fot butter, a particular type of aluminum baking pan, and a specific model of Blodgett oven. Wow, Perhaps one day I'll even get around to spinning the tale about the lesser known east end Orange Julep on Sherbrooke and Moreau, that divulged the secret recipe so that grandpa could make it at home for Bubbie Esther who never ate anything not homemade or non kosher. We should all be as loving as that.

          2 Replies
          1. re: heybaldy

            For a second I thought kosher-keeping + home-cooking Bubbie Esther was making a pound cake with LARD, but then I woke up. I remember that Orange Julep location. I see that there is a condo building there now (les Condos Orange, perhaps a tribute to Orange Julep?) but also something appropriately kitsch, the 'Miami Deli", "a little Miami in Mtl" Wild!

            And yes, it is a tribute to the eastern Orange Julep. Googling I found old photos, but don't want to get too off-topic here. Easy to find.

            1. re: lagatta

              As I remember the Miami Deli on the opposite corner was owned by a big old man that zadie Hersh knew as Chief wHen it was a Dunkin Donut franchise. We would go in the back to shoot the breeze and I would watch the cook make me custom jumbo size honey dipped raisin doughnuts. Oh yeah, bubbie Esther was a real original. Kinda whacky. She kept kosher most always, but her butler told me that he used to drive her to Yangtze on Van Horne every new years day for her good luck meal of egg rolls and spare ribs. She was very superstitious in her old age. But who knows, Hersh always said that she had a horseshoe in her tuchus. It musta hurt because she had a limp something fierce.