Thursday, January 17, 2008

Taiwan - Pastries

In between the smells of pork and dough frying, you'll also catch a whiff of butter and sugar walking around town. Pastry shops line the streets of Taipei and when you walk in, your knees get a little weak (at least mine did). The intensity of butter and sugar is almost too much when you first enter the pastry shop. Once you take a bite, you understand why though since the pastries are so buttery and delicious - sweet, but not too sweet. The Taiwanese pastries are also about texture - most are light and fluffy like a cloud.

The two most memorable desserts were from our friend Yingfeng. The first was dorayaki - a Japanese dessert that consists of two sweet pancake like items filled with cream and a sweet red bean paste. This was by far one of the best things I had on this trip and I'm usually not a huge pastry guy. The pancakes were soft and fluffy and perfectly sweetened. The cream was so light and delicate and the red bean puree was the best I've ever had...again very light and perfectly sweetened. It was like eating a sweet cloud...pretty ridiculous stuff.

The second heavy hitter in the dessert category was this milk jello thing covered in peanuts. Very strange, but I loved it. Basically, whole slightly sweetened milk that was gelatinized and covered in sweet ground peanuts. This was very light, but had a nice mouth feel (a little like soft tofu) to it since it seemed like whole milk was used. A texture and flavor combination I've never had, so it was definitely a memorable one.

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