This is Good Taste, your guide to snacking well in the Bay Area. This week, take a trip to Ponyo Foods, a reverie of Asian snacks in Millbrae.
If Ponyo Foods (403 Broadway, Millbrae) existed when I was growing up on the Peninsula, it would have been a dream come true and a regular part of my snack discovery rotation. It can now be yours!
The nine-month-old shop has something for snack fiends of all ages, whether they’re in possession of a sweet tooth or have a savory crunch fetish. It’s a good place for picking up a thoughtful gift. While the focus is on Asian goods, such as Japanese Kit Kats and Hello Kitty Ramune sodas and Chinese Lay’s, there are also gems like the impossibly light and pleasingly salty potato chips from Spanish brand Torres, which may be the best in the world.
Ponyo has become a place where customers can learn about and try local pastry chefs and confectioners, such as the full line of Mackbox’s Chex Mix (which I’ve dedicated a previous column to gushing about) and freeze-dried candies from South San Francisco’s Crispy Crunchy Candy, one of the few local companies to focus on this TikTok craze and sell outside of Etsy. Mackbox’s Mckoy Estrada (aka Mack) also keeps Ponyo’s bakery case stocked with his beautiful plated dessert options that can otherwise only be ordered from his shop in Oakland.
Customers can shop online at Ponyo and get delivery of pastries by Mackbox, and other local bakeries (as well as snacks, drinks, plush toys, and blind boxes) to select Bay Area locations on the Peninsula and in the South Bay and East Bay with a minimum purchase of $60. Current pastry selections include croissants, cookies, and boureks from San Francisco’s popular Neighbor Bakehouse.
If you visit Ponyo in person, you might want to check out some other sweet stops in the neighborhood, too. Next door, you’ll find Uni Souffle (405 Broadway), a dessert shop with a name that is short for unicorn and not for sea urchin, and don’t miss the new location of the South San Francisco Filipino bakery Binka Bites a few blocks down at 979 Broadway for creative flavors of bibingka, a rice flour and coconut cake that is awesome for breakfast or dessert.
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