“Taan is from my name, and ‘laan’ means ‘million’. So I’m hoping to catch some millions,” Tan Hansapinyo says with a laugh. “In Thailand we have this belief that if you add luck to the name, the business will do well.”
And so far, it has.
Hansapinyo and business partner Mary Megally opened their online bakery Laantaan back in April, but the business has flourished in the last few months, after coronavirus pushed them to offer home delivery.
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Previously they supplied Abbotsford supermarket Talad Thai and city eatery Thai Town (which is no longer a stockist), but recently Laantaan took off on Instagram, and they’ve been serving hundreds of customers every weekend since.
The first product they developed is a buttermilk bun duo – after the buns are baked, pairs are pressed together and piped with a creamy filling. The whole thing is topped with butter and sugar.
“Because I like baking, I made a lot of the buns at home. I started giving them to friends and they told their friends. It spread through word of mouth, until they said I should start selling them,” says Megally, who studied commercial cookery.
The two signature flavours are salted duck-egg yolk and Thai tea (black with strong spices). They’ve also done specials with Ovaltine (a choc-malt drink similar to Milo); ube (purple yam); durian; Nutella; and pork floss with chilli jam.
Laantaan also makes use of foi thong, a traditional Thai dessert of egg-yolk threads cooked in sugar syrup. The crepe rolls are filled with sweet cream and foi thong.
“We grew up with these desserts, so we wanted to represent them and show that they can be mixed with other sweets people like, like crepes,” Hansapinyo says.
Sponge cakes come three ways: as a swiss roll with foi thong; a “volcano” drenched in cream instead of icing; and a golden nest with coconut cream filling and more foi thong. They’ve done pandan and durian specials, too.
The pair work out of their shared Cranbourne home, which they’ve converted into a makeshift production kitchen. Originally they were sharing a single stand-mixer and could only make seven batches of buns at a time, but they’ve recently hired three part-time bakers and now use two large, commercial mixers on the floor of what was once their living room.
Weekdays are spent fulfilling orders for Talad Thai, where the pair say eagle-eyed followers have bought out their deliveries in less than two hours. On weekends they hire drivers – mostly international students who’ve been impacted by Covid-19 – to deliver their goods to customers’ homes.
The next step is to approach cafes about supplying buns and cakes, but their dream is to open a proper bakery-cafe of their own. This will allow them to make dishes best served fresh: buns with brûléed tops and drinks such as Thai milk tea and pandan lattes.
“Many people ask where our bakery is, because they’d prefer to pick up, so we want to find a place close to the city,” Hansapinyo says. “That’s always been my target, but we’ve started from zero. We didn’t have enough to just go boom, open a shop right away.”