Niagara-on-the-Lake’s new bakery brings the sweetness of South Korea to town

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Korean-style matcha roll cake from Soko Bakery Cafe, served with flat white oat milk coffee. Jihu Hyeon says she wants people to not only enjoy their desserts, but to have a carefree time at their café in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Now available in Niagara-on-the-Lake: a dessert experience that combines a bit of something warm and familiar with flavors never before experienced in town.

At Soko Bakery Café, Ji-Hu “Gina” Hyeon and her husband Sang-Il Lee serve cakes, pastries, rolls and more. These are all treats you may know and love, but made the Korean way. They celebrated the inauguration of the bakery on July 13.

The couple moved to Canada from South Korea in 2017 and settled in Niagara Falls, where they live today. Hyeon says she has always enjoyed cooking as a hobby and even worked part-time at a bakery in South Korea.

Hyeon says baking combines two of her passions: she loves the math involved in precisely measuring ingredients and the joy it brings to those who eat her food.

“I like to see people who have my buns, my pastries and they’re happy,” she said. “It also makes me happy.”

Hyeon and Lee planned to open a business when they arrived in Canada. After five years of living in the country and observing the Canadian culture and way of life, they decided this was the year to start their business.

Whether it’s Korean food, pop music, TV shows, or beauty trends, Korean culture has seen a huge surge in popularity over the past decade.

“It’s become incredibly popular…I was very lucky,” Hyeon said of the timing of his move here.

Although there are many places in the area where you can enjoy Korean food, especially Korean fried chicken, Hyeon said she noticed there was no option to enjoy baked goods. Koreans.

“Most people don’t know (about) our desserts and pastries,” she said. “There are no traditional baked goods in Korea because Korea has rice instead of wheat, but there are a lot of fusion products.”

At Hyeon’s bakery, she bakes a Korean version of a Swiss Swiss roll cake with strawberry, white chocolate and matcha – the difference? The middle of the roll is less cake, more cream.

A popular item is a savory dish called sausage bun, made with a soft dough and filled with sausages or hot dogs, onion and parsley, shaped into a decorative sheet and topped with ketchup or mayonnaise.

This item has been a hit with customers since it opened, Hyeon said.

There is also the sweet corn bun: a white bun stuffed with yellow corn, mayonnaise and cheese. This item is Hyeon’s favorite.

“It has a very interesting texture,” she said. “It’s a very soft dough.”

Besides baked desserts, buns and scones, Soko Bakery Café also sells sandwiches, like its ham and maple syrup croissant sandwich or its pork bulgogi wrap.

All of this can also be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or a latte on the side, either sitting inside their clean and bright cafe or taking your takeout order.

“When people come to our store, what I want them to appreciate is that it’s our passion,” Hyeon said. “I just want them to come… and spend their free time carefree.”

SOLO BAKERY CAFE

ADDRESS: 358 Mary Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake

CONTACT: [email protected], sokobakerycafe.business.site

HOURS: Wednesday to Monday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday: Closed


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