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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.
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What Makes Taiwan’s Famous Pineapple Cake So Good

2516 Folder Collection
Eunice Lin published on July 22, 2020    Seraya translated    adam reviewed
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