12205 Nebel Street (Factory)
Rockville, MD 20852
Maria's Bakery is a Chinese bakery located in what looks to be a recently constructed mixed use development in Rockville. It is nestled in this strip mall that is not visible off Rockville Pike; you have to drive through a non-descript access road that cuts through a series of shopping plazas filled with big box stores. While the bakery itself has an ethnic feel, its neighbors clearly cater to a more gentrified clientele: there're a yoga studio, a Whole Foods across the Pike, probably a Potbelly and Panera, and maybe even an Uggs store (I don't believe an Apple Store has opened yet…I'm sure time will remedy that soon enough). Adjacent to it is a generic luxury condo complex, built with cheap materials and thrown up quickly, almost identical to the type you see in Arlington, Silver Spring, and the area around Nationals Park. I don't expect this place to be a UNESCO World Heritage site anytime soon.
We stopped by this bakery after dinner just before closing, so I probably didn't see it and its food at its best. When you walk in there is a glass display case filled with various cakes and pastries. On some shelves, they also have various breads and buns. I picked up a custard bun and a coffee cream bun. A friend of mine bought a red bean bun, another a slice of black forest cake, and another a preserved egg stuffed with a savory filling (perhaps meat?). Generally, I did not see any sesame balls or other things I find more distinctly Chinese…the baked goods being offered are fairly similar to those you can find in the Korean bakeries down in Annandale.
The custard bun was a little bland, the black forest cake a little dry, but the coffee cream was pretty good. I think the major problem was that the baked goods were not at their freshest, so if you stop by earlier, you will probably have a much better experience. Something to consider if you are in the area, though I suspect you might be better served trying Shilla Bakery or Le Matin de Paris if you want to sample Asian baked goods.
Coffee Cream Bun