Assorted Cookies at Yasaman Bakery

Cross the threshold of Yasaman Bakery, a Rockville mainstay since 1984, and behold display cases filled with Persian treats, including many variations of baklava and a stunning assortment of cookies. Among the goodies: thin and buttery nan-e keshmeshi (raisin cookies); nan-e nokhodchi (small cloverleaf-shaped, cardamom-laced chickpea cookies); bamieh (small doughnuts, some spherical, others diamond-shaped, soaked with rose and saffron syrup); and zoolbia (round deep-fried squiggles of dough—like funnel cake or Indian jalebi—soaked in rose and saffron syrup). ($17 a pound)

Yasaman Bakery, 785 Rockville Pike (Ritchie Center), Rockville, 301-762-5416, yasamanbakery.com


White Lotus Seed Paste Double Yolk Moon Cake at Asian Bakery Cafe

In Rockville, Asian Bakery Cafe serves Cantonese favorites such as pineapple buns, red bean bread and Swiss roll cakes, plus a wide variety of yue bing (moon cakes), filled round pastries baked in decorative molds. Though the delicacies are typically eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival (this year it’s Sept. 10), Asian Bakery Cafe sells them year-round with such fillings as winter melon paste, red bean paste and green tea paste. But the one that intrigues us most has two cured hard-boiled egg yolks surrounded by caramel-like white lotus seed paste. The combination of sweetness, saltiness and richness is irresistible. ($6.80)

Asian Bakery Cafe, 763 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, 301-838-3189, facebook.com/asianbakerycafe


Fig Baklava at Mastiha Artisan Greek Bakery

Laid off from a design job in 2009, Katerina Georgallas looked to her Greek heritage for a side hustle and created Baklava Couture, selling reimagined versions of the classic Greek pastry of phyllo dough, chopped nuts and honey syrup at farmers markets. That blossomed into a full-time business. In 2018, she expanded the product line, rebranded as Mastiha Artisan Greek Bakery (mastiha is the sap from the skinos tree, which grows on the Greek island of Chios), and moved into a tiny pickup-only kitchen in Kensington. We love Georgallas’ chewy, crunchy fig baklava: chopped dried figs, almonds and walnuts spread onto buttery sheets of phyllo, rolled into 3-by-1-inch logs, baked and drizzled with honey lemon syrup. Note: Mastiha is moving to a larger facility in Rockville this summer. ($15 for six rolls)

Mastiha Artisan Greek Bakery, 10560 Metropolitan Ave., Rear Unit, Kensington, 301-332-6215, mastihabakery.com


Photo by Deb Lindsey

Japanese Cheesecake at Japong Bakery

The No. 1 seller at Japong Bakery, which baker and owner Hung Su opened in Rockville’s Ritchie Center in 2018, is Japanese cheesecake. Su says the shop goes through 200 to 250 of them in a typical week. Baking soda added to the batter gives this cake more rise and a lighter, fluffier texture than American cheesecake, as does steam—a pan of water placed under the cakes in the oven is removed after 30 minutes, and the cakes are then baked 20 minutes longer. Out of the oven, they are branded with the Japong logo, wrapped in thin fabric and placed in a cake box with two steam holes. “It’s so soft and creamy when it’s still warm. Many people prefer it that way,” Su says. “Once it’s refrigerated for a day, the cheese flavor really comes out.” ($13.99 for a 7-inch cake)

Japong Bakery, 785 Rockville Pike (Ritchie Center), Rockville, 301-762-2853, japongbakery.com


Nido de Piña at Melissa’s Bakery

Just inside the giant Asian supermarket H Mart in Gaithersburg, next to its produce section, is something unexpected: an independently operated Salvadoran panadería (bakery) called Melissa’s Bakery. It opened in 2010, but current co-owners and baking brothers Juan and Franklin Reyes took it over in January. The delicious nido de piña looks like a Danish; it’s a round of golden brown, egg-enriched, coconut-flecked dough with chunky, bright yellow pineapple filling in the center. ($.99)

Melissa’s Bakery (inside H Mart in Montgomery Village Crossing), 9639 Lost Knife Road, Gaithersburg, 301-926-3116, melissas-bakery-inc.negocio.site (The website is in Spanish.)