Let’s face it. With no signs of the pandemic letting up, we have lots of free time on our hands. Instead of going out, a good number of us are stuck at home: working, studying, or just taking it easy.
Thus, many small businesses have sprouted, and a lot of them have ventured into food— particularly baking. One of these is Happy Chan Kho Bakery, a startup business by Stephanie Kho and Dexter Chan.
A Quarantine Project Made with Love
Established just this 2020, Happy Chan Kho Bakery is not only a mishmash of their surnames but is also a play on the words “happy tiyan ko” (my tummy is happy). The story began when both Kho and Chan were busy with wedding preparations early this year. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit, and these plans were halted. Rather than let things go downhill (the economy, not their relationship, that is), the couple decided to start their own business.
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A baker and university lecturer, Dexter Chan then taught his fiance Stephanie Kho how to bake. Starting off with a refurbished mixer and some simple utensils, the couple then made their first creation: a basque burnt cheesecake. The sense of accomplishment and love can be likened to seeing their newborn child for the first time — one fondly named Basque Kho Cheesecake. And thus, it spurred the couple to create more baked goods; treats that will make people happy. Such is the Happy Chan Kho Bakery promise.
Happy Chan Kho Baked Goodies
Since the birth of their Basque Kho Cheesecake, Happy Chan Kho Bakery has expanded their menu to include other freshly baked goods. These include:
Uberific Cheese Pandesal (PHP 235 for 1 dozen)
A classic Filipino breakfast item with a twist. The ube and cheese pandesal has become a popular quarantine treat, and Happy Chan Kho Bakery jumped in on that bandwagon, too. While some brands use cost-cutting ube flavoring for their pandesal, Happy Chan Kho makes sure to use real ube halaya in theirs. That way, you really get to enjoy the earthy taste of ube that just melds well with the salty, gooey taste of cheese.
Although denser than most commercial pandesal, the Uberific Cheese Pandesal comes packed with tons of filling and flavor. According to Chan: “The name Uberific is just what we like to call it since a brand has to be catchy and we wanted people to remember that the Uberific Cheese Pandesal is terrific.”
BasqueKho Cheesecake (PHP 700)
The creamy and cheesy cake that started it all. Originally a cake that has graced the couple’s Facebook feed one too many times, Kho wanted to make her own version. And thus, the BasqueKho Cheesecake was born. Not too heavy and oh-so-fluffy, this light cheesecake is easy on the stomach and can easily be finished. According to Chan, the sweetness was adjusted to match the taste of people in Hong Kong. That meant that the cake had to be not too sweet and not dense either. And we think that they’ve got it right!
As for the name, it’s a play of words on “basque ko” (my basque), hence the name BasqueKho. But we think you already knew that.
Belgian Choco Chip Cookies with Walnuts (PHP 480 for 6 pieces)
Although chocolate chip cookies are a dime in a dozen, Happy Chan Kho Bakery takes all the good things in a cookie and puts it in their version. First off, they use high-grade, heat stable Belgian chocolate in theirs. And in big sizes, too. To get your money’s worth, of course.
This, paired with their incredibly huge cookie (it’s nearly the size of my palm!) make for a good treat. In addition, the dough is soft and chewy, but with a bit of a bite outside, and overall not too sweet. And how could we forget the walnuts? Happy Chan Kho Bakery’s cookie comes with a generous helping of chopped walnuts inside, and the whole cookie is finished off with a light dusting of salt. Now that’s one multi-dimensional chewy cookie we won’t mind devouring time and time again!
BES! Brownies (PHP 550 for 16 pieces)
A box of brownies comes with 16 pieces to enjoy, and this is no coincidence. Chan explains that in Fujianese, the number 6, which is pronounced as “lak”, sounds like luck. So put that with the number 10, and you multiply the “lak” (luck) tenfold! Puns aside, each brownie is also made bite-sized, so that people can finish the piece easily. Although already toned down compared to other brownies, Happy Chan Kho Bakery wants theirs to be not too rich, and not too sweet. Don’t get us wrong: this brownie still retains a degree of fudginess, and even has bites of chocolate in the middle. The portions and taste were just adjusted so that you don’t feel overwhelmed (umay).
Again, these were made to match the preferences of Hong Kong people, in order to lessen the guilt of having too much sweets. Plus, the name BES! Brownies is not only a pun for “best”, but also for the Tagalog slang word “bes”, or best friend, which you really ought to be sharing these with!
K-POP Ups! (PHP 600 for 10 pieces)
The K-POP Ups are a fusion of Western and Asian flavors — another popular quarantine treat that the couple dabbled with. These thick and fluffy buns come filled with a mix of garlic, cream cheese, and butter in the center. This Korean snack is fondly named K-POP Ups because of both its origin and the fact that it “pops up” when baked.
Food is ever-changing, and as time passes, food trends will come and go. Beyond offering baked goodies that give you more bang for your buck, Happy Chan Kho Bakery aims to offer food that everyone will enjoy. Thus, their menu will continue to evolve, but still retain the same end-goal: your happiness.
Happy Chan Kho Bakery
What are other quarantine businesses that you’ve discovered lately? Share them with us!
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