Staff of Life: Puffy, Toasty, Seeded Picks from O.C.’s Global Breadbasket

› Ikram Bakery in Fountain Valley is the locus of local Turkish life. The tiny storefront makes a number of sweet and savory pastries—cream-filled baklava and flaky, cheese-stuffed borek. But it’s increasingly famous for simit, a sort of blackened, sesame seed-studded bagel central to a good Turkish breakfast.

Pão de Queijo
› This breakfast favorite is the Brazilian equivalent of French gougères: little puffs of cheese-infused bread that practically melt on the tongue. Pão de queijo are gluten-free, too, traditionally made with tapioca flour. Get your fix at Brazilian Bites Surf City in Huntington Beach.

Zhi Ma Da Bing
› Out on the edges of China, where the land is better suited to wheat than rice, zhi ma da bing is a staple. At Mas’ Islamic Chinese Restaurant in Anaheim, this pan‑cooked bread is puffy, pliable, and nearly as multilayered as a fine croissant. Scallions add flavor; the sesame-coated shell adds crunch.

› As with the food of neighboring Ethiopia, Eritrea’s cuisine is meant to be scooped up. You do it with spongy injera, a fluffy, pliable flatbread known for its sourdough-like bite. At Merhaba in Anaheim, tear off a piece and drag it through some doro wot, a fiery chicken stew as finely spiced as any Indian curry.

› The lines at Wholesome Choice Markets are legendary for the fresh sangak, a roughly four-foot long Persian flatbread still hot from the oven and slid into customers’ waiting arms. But it’s worth it for the gentle sourdough tang and the addictive toastiness. In Anaheim, Irvine, and Laguna Niguel.

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