Mar 2010

Pappa Rich – Pasadena


Located on the corner of De Lacey and Green in Old Pasadena, Pappa Rich is the first American outlet of a wildly popular chain of Korean bakeries called Pappa Roti.


Opened late last year, the shop has an undeniable log cabin vibe due to its bevy of wooden furniture and accents. The air smells strongly of mocha. Pappa Rich’s aesthetic is reminiscent of Tous Le Jour, a competing chain of Korean bakeries that The Astronomer and I adored while living in Saigon.


After receiving our order of Pappa Rich’s famous buns ($2.99), we stole two seats and tore right in. As promised by Jonathan Gold, the buns were “fat, warm, [and] breast-shaped”—my three favorite qualities in a baked good.

The Astronomer and I were both taken aback by how gloriously soft, crisp, and inexplicably airy the bun was. Best of all, toward the center was a hidden pat of melted butter that melded decadently with the pastry. Sweet, savory, and rich, this bun was indeed the “Father of All Buns.”


Out of curiosity and hunger, The Astronomer also ordered a white chocolate sugar cookie with strawberry cream cheese spread ($2.75). The cookie was tougher than undergraduate work at Swarthmore, while the frosting was ice cold. Both The Astronomer and I tried our darndest to take a clean bite from top to bottom, but it was a mission impossible.

Even though the sandwich cookie was poorly constructed and practically inedible, I will be making my way back to Pappa Rich for another taste of the “Father of All Buns.” Korea has the tastiest chain restaurants in the world, wouldn’t you say?

Pappa Rich
100 W. Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: 626-440-0009

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22 thoughts on “Pappa Rich – Pasadena

  1. If this is an example of Korea having the tastiest chains in the world, then I’m never going to another chain joint. Even my Korean friends wounder if they will survive at this location.

  2. I never thought of Korean buns as being “breast shaped” Now I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at Asian buns again without thinking that.

  3. I remember having what looks quite similar to the famous buns in Beijing at BreadTalk. It was called the Hokkaido Dome and had the same characteristics with the exception of the butter. Love these types of bread!

  4. Glad to see the popular dessert surface in LA, though I wonder why not in KTown over Pasadena…

    Korea does seem to do these chain concepts well.

  5. mattatouille – I was wondering the same thing! I am glad it’s in my ‘hood. Would’ve taken me years to make my way to the K-town location. By the way, one unexceptional Korean chain—Hollys Coffee (review to come!)

    shihui – True, true. The founder of Pappa Roti took the idea from a Malaysian chain called Pappa Rich. I bet the Malays aren’t too pleased.

  6. Buns? I’m confused about what exactly these buns are but they look delish! are they sweet? Are they filled? I want one, guess I will just have to go try one 🙂

  7. hey girl!

    we’re discovering smthg at same time: pappa rich is PAPPA ROTI in hcmc and it’s my latest obsession! but it’s supposedly malayisian not korean…maybe you can find out for sure and it’s just 10,000 vnd here and is served warm with the delicious pat of butter inside. it looks exactly like the bun in ur pic.

    hmmm what came first, the rich or roti? in any case, it’s jsut super super good and it’s a terrible craving but at my price, ill eat it. at ur price, ill take a pass i think!

    happiest of march madness to u! cannot wait to see wedding pics!!!

    xoxoxoxo cnguyen

  8. Here’s the DL on PappaRoti/PappaRich:

    There once was a Malaysian company called PappaRich. They served boob buns that were damn tasty. A Korean man brought the buns to Korea and named the chain PappaRoti. Korea’s PappaRoti is now expanding to the U.S. They have named the U.S. outlets PappaRich (no relation to the Malay brand).

  9. Sorry, I still maintain the claim that these buns are Malaysian since I’m all too familiar with the Malaysian Roti Boy chain abound in Indonesia+SE Asia! 😛
    Not that I really know who did it first or whether or not it really matters.

  10. oh my god!

    came here with midtown lunch right after tibetan buffet! ha ha.

    its like a an entire bun made from only the crispy edges of a cookie! so toasty!


    love that salty, melted butter interior!

  11. I walk by PappaRich almost every weekend but the aroma wafting out of it is so sickeningly sweet I’ve avoided going in. However, after reading your write up I decided to give the sweet bun a try yesterday. I really wish I hadn’t because it is SO GOOD! Living only two blocks away is going to be dangerous.

  12. After having my first roti bun in Sunnyvale at a place called Honey Berry, I knew I had to find this amazing taste in my mouth again when I got back to LA. Lo and behold, I read your review and bookmarked it in my mind to visit when in Pasadena. Sadly, I’m rarely there and trekking all the way over there for a roti bun didn’t make too much sense so I just kinda forgot about it…until I saw a sign in the Koreatown Galleria at Little Bean Cafe that they are selling Papa Rich buns!!! WOOOO!!! I’ve had three so far. I had one today, yesterday… and one a week before. This is starting to become a little crazy. Anyway, I went online to see what the origins of it was because the owner of the cafe said she was the one who invented it… sigh.

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