The gastronomic diversity of Buford Highway includes brilliant desserts that take eaters on a global taste trip.
Mango Mango (5177 Buford Highway, Doraville. 678-395-7094, mango-mango-dessert-atlanta.business.site). Franchise owner Jet Lee says he goes through 200 to 300 boxes of mangos each month at Mango Mango, where his wife, Cindy Cheng, crafts a Hong Kong-style dessert menu that showcases the tropical fruit in everything from crepes to shaved ice. The nonmango standout on the menu is a Japanese take on a French classic. A generous slice of green tea mille crepe is not quite the 1,000 layers its name implies, but 20 springy and light layers are impressive enough. The full-bodied crepe is sweetly vegetal, and fresh pastry cream binds the sheets with richness. Cheng tops each elegant wedge with a dusting of matcha.
Master Bakery-San Bakery (5145 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-458-7500, Facebook: Master Bakery-San Bakery Inc). This bakery sits at the end of a small shopping plaza. Much like cha chaan tengs (“tea restaurants” in Hong Kong), it’s tiny, and it has little seating, but a steady stream of customers taking away boxes of baked goods. The family-owned bakery makes everything in house and by hand daily, which means sometimes they run out, and other times you can experience a piping hot egg tart. This golden pocket of custard, made from egg yolk, cream and sugar, is encased in the flakiest of baked shells. It’s the perfect balance of filling to tart, akin to the flavor of a rich crème brulee with a butter crust. And, it’s $1.50, to boot.
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Tea House Formosa (5302 Buford Highway, Doraville. 470-349-8105, Facebook: Tea House Formosa). In mid-August, Tea House Formosa removed its Taiwanese small-bites menu, deciding to focus solely on sweets. Now, desserts support a menu of teas, tea floats, milk teas and buttercream teas. The cream puffs and cheesecakes look pretty in the bright space, but nothing is as striking as the oolong cream napoleon. It’s a showstopper, presented on a pedestal, with three layers of flaky puffed pastry and dollops of oolong-infused pastry cream. It’s rich and delicate, but not too sweet, and with the floral and grassy distinctness of oolong. A dusting of powdered sugar embellishes a garnish of seasonal berries. Enjoy the flakiness of this napoleon when you break into it with one of the restaurant’s pretty copper spoons.
<<What to eat on Buford Highway:
Sweet Hut Bakery and Cafe (5150 Buford Highway, Doraville. 470-545-2585, sweethutbakery.com). It may be modern, but Sweet Hut feels like an Old World patisserie. Customers pick up baskets and tongs to select from Asian-style breads, pastries and savories. Colorful moon cakes, in flavors like red bean paste and durian, fill shelves for autumn. Behind the counter, the lychee mascarpone stands tall, as polished as glass, and similarly formed. A thin layer of light and airy sponge cake supports a mound of smooth and creamy mascarpone, flavored with the exotic touch of lychee fruit, which adds floral notes. It’s a delicate balance of sweet and tart, sprinkled with red velvet crumbs. A swoosh of white chocolate and a blueberry finish its artistry.
I-CE NY (5177 Buford Highway, Doraville. 470-275-3762, icenyicecream.com). It may be known for Thai-style ice cream, but the star on I-CE NY Ice Cream’s menu is its version of a Mexican street food. Chamoyada (sometimes called “mangollada”) is cold, spicy, sweet and sour. It usually is made slushee-like in a clear cup, with swirled colors of bright yellow mango and red sauce. Here, the base is mango ice cream, frozen on a super-cold plate, spread crepe-thin, then cut and rolled into spindles. Chunks of fresh mango are spooned on top and drizzled with chamoy, a spicy, pickled plum sauce that’s a bit like salsa. A heavy dusting of Tajin, a salted chili powder, covers everything, while a sour tamarind candy stick coated in spicy-sour chili paste is planted like a delicious flag in the middle of the colorful bouquet. It’s a flavor bomb that hits all your taste receptors. I-CE NY has an array of toppings and mix-ins to personalize it further. Add some crunch with cornflakes, or a punch of crispy color with Fruity Pebbles.