I always have to save a lot of room in my suitcase for snacks from Taiwan on my trip back. The prohibition on meat and fruits and vegetables limit my options greatly, but I still load up on other snacks.

There are a few staple items I always get for myself and to give as gifts to friends. I thought I’d share a few pictures before I dived in and ate them.

Pineapple cakes

Pineapple cakes are popular in Taiwan and can be found at almost every bakery. Every place makes their own and claims to be the best. A few years ago we really enjoyed the ones from Chia Te. Ever since then, my aunt always gets them for us to take home.

Pineapple cakes have a shortbread-like exterior which crumbles upon touch. The inside is filled with a pineapple jam-like filling. One of these days, I want to try making my own. These are probably the most requested item people ask me to bring from Taiwan. And don’t let the plain appearance fool you. These cakes are usually sold for about $1 a piece.

Wife Cakes

I honestly have no idea where the name comes from. There are two variations of this cake. One is called Sun Cakes, and the other is called Wife Cakes. Both have the same filling, but the difference is in the skin. Sun Cakes have a thicker pastry skin and Old Wife Cakes have a thinner skin. Each is filled with a sweet maltose filling. The “cakes” are actually shaped like cookies. The skin is a flaky pastry that breaks up a lot and can get quite messy when you are eating it.

I prefer Wife Cakes over Sun Cakes. The pastry exterior is a little dry, so I like that the Old Wife Cakes uses a thinner skin.

Handmade mochi

It’s hard to find Taiwanese style handmade mochi these days. In the U.S. all I can find are Japanese mochi and processed Chinese mochi. While I like mochi in almost any form, Taiwanese handmade mochi is my favorite. A lot of the bakeries in Taiwan now offer other forms of mochi and have gone away from the handmade ones.

I previously blogged about a store called Pau Chuan, which makes handmade mochi. On this trip, during a day trip to Yilan, we found a bakery famous for their handmade mochi.  Taiwanese handmade mochi is chewier than machine made mochi. It’s also a little less sweet. These don’t keep well. You have to freeze them if you don’t eat them right away. And even then, you are supposed to eat them in a week.

   

12 Responses to “Pineapple cakes and other goodies from Taiwan”

  1. Ali — October 2, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Wow the cake looks delicious, Taiwan is known to be a place of great delicacies. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kirbie replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

      Taiwan definitely has a lot of great food.

  2. Grace — October 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    My family is from Taiwan and whenever my parents come back they always bring me these desserts. There’s no comparison in America, even with the bakeries in Chinatown in New York City where I live. It’s nice to see them get a little more love here in the states!

    • Kirbie replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

      I know what you mean. I don’t have any desire to buy the pineapples in the US, but I love eating the ones in Taiwan

  3. Qi Ting @ Misadventures of Fat free Baking — October 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I’m a half-Taiwanese and your post brings me back great memories! :D Thank you for it! :D

    • Kirbie replied: — October 3rd, 2011 @ 8:34 am

      Aw, I’m glad I was able to do that!

  4. Jen — October 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    They’re called Wife cakes because there was this legend where this couple had nothing to eat and the husband asked the wife to make something to eat and so she made this cake…really pastry…that was really filling out of winter melons which was the only thing that they had. And they named it wife cakes. The filling inside is made out of winter melon

    • Kirbie replied: — October 14th, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

      Thanks for the information!

  5. John pillen — January 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Can the Chiate pineapple cakes be purchased in San Diego? If so where?

    • Kirbie replied: — January 14th, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

      I believe that specific brand is only available in Taiwan. You can purchase other brands in San Diego. They have a lot of different ones in Ranch 99, and more upscale quality ones can be find in the chinese bakeries.

  6. Sara — November 18, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Is there a way to order the wife cakes? I’ve had them years ago when my brother got back from his mission and I’ve been hopelessly addicted but never able to find out what they were and here they are!

    • Kirbie replied: — November 19th, 2014 @ 1:52 am

      I believe specialty Taiwanese and Chinese bakeries carry it.

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