Walk anywhere in the general vicinity of Irving and 20th Ave. and you’re guaranteed to see plenty of smiling people carrying pink pastry boxes full of still-warm treats from Pineapple King. The reason is simple: the Chinese bakery in the Sunset is churning out fantastic baked goods that are well worth waiting in the line down the block for.
The bakery’s titular pineapple buns - named for their crumbly, textured golden topping (not the fruit) - are the main attraction here. There are almost 20 varieties of pineapple buns alone on the menu. Some are injected with sweet fillings, like ube or mango custard, and others are sliced in half and stuffed with a glistening slab of butter. Each is about the size of a semi-flattened baseball and baked fresh daily. One bite into a squishy bun and you’ll slip right into a dreamlike, butter-induced trance - which will probably inspire you to hop back in line and grab a few more for later. So just do yourself a favor and order a bunch the first time around.
Pineapple buns aside, plenty of other things at Pineapple King are also fantastic. Like the soft, milky hot dog buns, and the refreshing mango pudding that tastes like a sunny summer picnic in a spoon. The counter-serve bakery is cash-only, so plan accordingly. Or you can order ahead and pay online, which helps you avoid the line, too. If you want to make a day out of a visit here, load up your box, take it to nearby Golden Gate Park, and enjoy eating some of the city’s best pastries on a patch of grass.
Soft and squishy with the signature crumbly topping, the pineapple bun here reigns supreme. There are tons of flavors, from ube or matcha to the less conventional pepperoni and cheese - but when in doubt, the plain one never disappoints.
This is our go-to. At night, we count pineapple buns with guava butter instead of sheep. It comes with a centimeter-thick slab of pink butter that isn’t too sweet or fruity, and melts right into the bun.
A classic, perfectly done.
If you want a pineapple bun that’s on the dessert-y side, try this one. It’s filled with gooey mango custard that oozes out with every bite.
Like we said above, summer in a spoon. The silky, creamy pudding is especially refreshing on a warm day.