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  • Pineapple cakes in Taiwan are like fruit cakes in the West.

  • They're both ostentatiously packaged and given as gifts.

  • And you rarely buy them to eat yourself, let alone make them.

  • [Chef's plate: pineapple cake]

  • I went to this restaurant outside of Taipei that specializes in a pineapple cake known as fenglisu.

  • Calling it cake though is a bit of a misnomer.

  • Fenglisu is more like a tart made with a shortcake pastry dough.

  • The pastry allegedly has its origins in Taichung, a city in the middle of Taiwan.

  • In Hokkien, it's known as onglaiso, which means good fortune and happiness.

  • This is why it's often given as a gift.

  • (Mandarin) We use local Taiwanese pineapple for the fillings.

  • But what really makes this restaurant's cakes special is the use of a local indigenous ingredient called maqaw.

  • (Mandarin) Maqaw has a lemony flavor with a hint of ginger.

  • (Mandarin) It's always been a part of the indigenous cuisine of the Atayal people, which is why we use it in our best-selling pineapple cake.

  • So we're here and we're going to make pineapple cakes, and all the ingredients are here.

  • And these two lovely ladies are going to teach me how to make it.

  • Flour is combined with butter, then powdered sugar, powdered milk, powdered cheese, egg, and lastly maqaw powder.

  • A pineapple filling is folded in and it's all put into a mold, and then baked for 20 minutes.

  • Now, how did pineapple cake become a Taiwanese staple?

  • Pineapples were brought to Taiwan via South America around 250 years ago, and the industry flourished during the Japanese colonial period in the 1900s.

  • By the 1970s, there was a surplus of pineapples.

  • The pineapple cake was born as an answer to that, though these days, most fillings are made with a combination of pineapple and winter melon.

  • (Mandarin) There are a lot of different types of pineapple in Taiwan.

  • (Mandarin) We use the "golden diamond" pineapple.

  • (Mandarin) We don't use winter melon as a filler, so it's a bit more sour.

  • (Mandarin) Pineapple cake is a popular gift in Taiwan.

  • (Mandarin) It's an iconic Taiwanese dessert.

  • (Mandarin) We use local pineapples and ingredients.

  • (Mandarin) It's sweet and sour.

  • (Mandarin) Everyone really likes it.

  • If you want more content on Taiwan and indigeonous Taiwanese food, click on this video, and don't forget to subscribe to @Goldthread2.

Pineapple cakes in Taiwan are like fruit cakes in the West.

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What Makes Taiwan’s Famous Pineapple Cake So Good

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    Eunice Lin posted on 2020/08/10
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