EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL

Rice may be Asia's traditional staple but the region's also developing a taste for bread.

While other industries fret about a downturn, bakery chains serving up baguettes, pastries and less familiar delicacies are on a massive expansion drive.

BreadTalk started out in its hometown of Singapore but has expanded its presence to around 330 outlets in 57 Chinese cities.

The firm's Singapore-listed shares have jumped about 60 percent over the past year.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CEO, BREADTALK, GEORGE QUEK, SAYING:

"Today we have over 700 shops and we aim to have more than 1000 by the end of 2014. We are looking to expand into other countries. Right now we are considering Vietnam, Cambodia, and maybe South Korea as well."

Per-capita spending on baked goods in markets like Singapore and South Korea is still a quarter of what it is in the West, meaning there's plenty of room to grow.

China's bakery market alone is growing at double-digit rates and will be worth an estimated $33 billion by 2015.

That's why global names like Maison Kayser, Paul and Krispy Kreme now jostle for customers with Asian brands like BreadTalk and Paris Baguette.

So who will win out in the battle for Asia's tastebuds?

(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF COUNTRY RESEARCH (APAC), EUROMONITOR, KELVIN CHAN, SAYING:

"Global chains and big brands will be able to win over the local players. They are offering something that is very different, that is not available from the local players, so in a way they will have a better offering in the beginning."

The industry is not without its challenges, including rising real estate costs and volatile ingredient prices.

But it looks like Asia's consumers will be able to have their cake - or pork floss buns - and eat them too, with more baked goodies to choose from for any budget.

ENDS