Photo by Esther Tseng

Taiwanese Brick Toast: The Instagram-Worthy Dessert That’s Meant to be Shared

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It can be found all over L.A. stacked high with ice cream, fruit, whipped cream and more sweet surprises.

Taiwanese brick toast makes the case that toast shouldn’t be limited to breakfast. Commonly found in boba shops all across Los Angeles, brick toast is a dessert made from loaves of pain de mie, a soft, pillowy bread akin to the Pullman loaf commonly used for sandwiches. It’s made with slices cut thick enough to warrant its name, nearly an inch and a half or thicker and fashioned into squares.

The dessert is meant to be shared with friends. Most shops will flavor their brick toast with condensed milk, Nutella or matcha, then baste it with butter and egg yolk before crisping it in the toaster oven. Then it’s often topped with varied combinations of ice cream, fruit, syrups and whipped cream. Some versions are piled impressively high with toppings, but all require roughly 15-20 minutes to be made to order. So, settle in as you wait — it’s best enjoyed dining in.

Read on to find out where you can score brick toast — and its satisfying medley of textures — all over Los Angeles.

Factory Tea Bar – San Gabriel

Condensed Milk Brick Toast served at Factory Tea Bar.
Condensed Milk Brick Toast served at Factory Tea Bar. Photo by Esther Tseng.

Across from the historic San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, a masterpiece of Mission Revival architecture, you’ll find Factory Tea Bar, a fairly large cafe with a menu full of drinks, snacks and, of course, dessert. Condensed milk; and caramel brick toast are the only dessert options, but their presentation is top notch. They cut out the tender middle of the toast and overlay it with a film of cocoa powder; then they pile scoops of ice cream within the boxy outline of the crust.

323 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91776

www.factoryteabar.com

Condensed Milk Brick Toast / $7.95

Twinkle Brown Sugar – Little Tokyo, Alhambra, Huntington Park

Condensed Milk Butter Toast from Twinkle Brown Sugar
Condensed Milk Butter Toast from Twinkle Brown Sugar. Photo by Esther Tseng.

Long lauded as the ruling tea house with perfectly marinated boba, Twinkle Brown Sugar boasts a solid brick toast game. It’s not as thick as the others on this list, which, when combined with the price, makes it more manageable as a snack. Choose from eight different buttered toast varieties including brown sugar, strawberry and condensed milk. Add a scoop of vanilla or matcha ice cream for a dollar more and make it a la mode.

131 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

406 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra, CA 91801

5922 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park, CA 90255

www.twinklebrownsugar.com

Condensed Milk Butter Toast / $4.25

Oh My Pan – San Gabriel

Oh My Pan's Volcano Strawberry Toast.
Oh My Pan’s Volcano Strawberry Toast. Photo by Esther Tseng.

At Oh My Pan, brick toast is no minor affair. All five varieties come piled super high, with their “Volcano Strawberry Toast” coming in at an impressive 12 inches tall. It’s got four layers of crunchy miniature brick toast topped with a scoop of ice cream — all covered in strawberry slices and vanilla and still more strawberry sauce.

Too much? Try one of the other four honey toasts instead. One of them even features the Asian dessert trifecta: green tea ice cream, red bean and homemade egg pudding. Other topping options include marshmallows, vanilla or strawberry ice cream and yet more strawberries.

801 E. Valley Blvd. #105, San Gabriel, CA 91776

www.ohmypan.com

Volcano Strawberry Toast / $10.95

Tea Brick – Monterey Park, Rowland Heights

Nutella and Chocolate Brick Toast at Tea Brick.
Nutella and Chocolate Brick Toast at Tea Brick. Photo by Esther Tseng.

Tea Brick is a club music-pumping tea house with a few spins on traditional drinks, featuring a wide array of fruit teas served iced, hot or as slushies, along with a handful of ice cream floats and milkshakes. Their five options for brick toast don’t skimp on toppings — even if they’re a bit reliant on them. From caramelized banana to mochi and rainbow sherbert, their brick toast offerings are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

501 W. Garvey Ave. #105, Monterey Park, CA 91754

1606 Fullerton Rd., Rowland Heights, CA 91748

www.teabrick.online

Nutella and Chocolate Brick Toast / $5.95

Coffee Tomo – Sawtelle

The Honey Butter Bread served at Coffee Tomo.
Honey Butter Bread served at Coffee Tomo. Photo by Esther Tseng.

One of the most understated and yet well-done brick toasts, the rendition at neighborhood favorite Coffee Tomo, is one the Westside is happy to have. Unlike the tea houses in this guide, this Sawtelle cafe takes their coffee very seriously, even roasting their beans in-house. Their brick toast arrives at your table warm and properly crisped on all sides, and comes served with a drizzle of warm caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

11309 Mississippi Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025

www.coffeetomo.com

Honey Butter Bread / $5.75

Chibiscus – West Hollywood, Pasadena, Alhambra

Chibiscus' signature Chibi Toast.
Chibiscus’ signature Chibi Toast. Photo by Esther Tseng.

Chibiscus offers five colorful varieties of brick toast, but fruit lovers will especially enjoy their signature “Chibi Toast,” which includes sliced mango and strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. You can also enjoy toast topped with Nutella, bananas, Oreos and even plain honey for a simple, yet savory and sweet treat. It’s a great culmination to a dinner or lunch of spicy shoyu ramen with a side of chashu fried rice.

Chibiscus / 7361 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046

Again Cafe x Chibiscus Ramen / 132 W. Green St., Pasadena, CA 91105

Chibiscus Ramen (inside 99 Ranch Market) / 345 E. Main St., Alhambra, CA 91801

www.chibiscus.com

Chibi Toast / $10

Toastea – Downtown L.A.

Matcha Toast at Toastea.
Matcha Toast at Toastea. Photo by Esther Tseng.

You’ll find nothing but toast, savory and sweet, at Toastea. The kinds that use milk bread, however, would fall strictly under the dessert category. The great thing about this place is that they offer both small and large cuts on orders of their brick toasts — perfect for customizing to your appetite and party size.

Honey, matcha and Nutella toasts are on tap, but what you won’t find anywhere else is their “Spicy Churro Toast,” made with a Mexican chocolate sauce featuring ancho chiles, cayenne pepper and cinnamon sugar.

600 W. 7th St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90017

www.toasteacafe.com

Matcha Toast / $4.45 small; $7.95 large

Los Angeleno