On my first trip to Annandale's Shilla Bakery, I was pleasantly plumped from a Korean barbecue feast at nearby Honey Pig. But that didn't stop me from turning all kid in a candy store and stuffing my basket with Asian pastries from the glass cases.
Into my thoughtfully provided basket (clearly I'm not the only one buying more than I can carry) went cream puffs, fluffy honey castella cake, slightly sweet corn sticks (bottom right), sugar-crusted doughnuts (top) and a red bean paste-filled doughnut (left).
We passed around the confections for tastes, and it was that last one that captured my sweet tooth's heart.
Many people head to one of Shilla's multiple area locations for bubble tea and bingsoo, a Korean dessert featuring a mountain of shaved ice topped with or concealing a variety of ingredients from fruit to ice cream, condensed milk and cereal. But I'll be back for those sweet red bean balls, which run $1.50.
My first taste of desserts made with red bean paste was about 10 years ago in San Francisco's Chinatown. Since then, I get an odd craving from time to time for the earthy, sticky sweet, common in Asian desserts.
Shilla's doughnut is made with flour, eggs, yeast and milk and filled with the smooth and sugary bean paste.
Where else can I find great red bean confections in the DC area?