We all know that Taiwan is a kingdom of fruit. The tropical zone guarantees Taiwan with a mild climate and fertile land to develop agriculture. You can find fruits in different seasons. Thanks to the technology, the farmers improve the quality of fruits so they grow bigger, sweeter and juicier year by year. If you have ever come to Taiwan, you may be amazed by the delicious fruits and want to share them with your family and friends when you are back in your hometown. However, sometimes it is forbidden to carry fresh farm products back to your country.
Pineapple Cake－The Must Try in Taiwan and The Best Souvenir to Give Away
Don’t worry, you can still have some alternative for the souvenir. Taiwanese are so creative so they make fruits into kinds of products. If you can only take one thing as gift to give away, the answer should be pineapple cake with no doubt. It is not only tasty but also a symbol of good sign.
Taiwanese pineapple cakes hold the secret to prosperity, and it’s right in the name. In the Hokkien dialect of Taiwanese, the word for pineapple, ong lai, is pronounced the same as the phrase “prosperity has arrived.” Because of this, the pineapple is a symbol of luxury and hospitality, and a popular feng shui symbol of wealth, fortune, and prosperity in Taiwan.
So I am sure that if you give pineapple cakes to your friends and tell them the meaning of this pastry, they will love you more!
How Does It Taste?
You may wonder in your mind－is the pineapple cake we are talking about here the sticky, cloying upside-down American pineapple cake?
Actually, it is more like a tart than a cake. It is similar to Fig Newton but far more superior. A pineapple cake is covered with crispy skin. The moist, sour jam in the middle perfectly balances the dry, buttery coat outside. This revolutionary combination has conquered the appetite of people all over the world. However, it is only available in Taiwan so far. That’s why we strongly recommend you to write it down to your to-buy list in Taiwan.
As a Taiwanese, it may be too subjective to tell you how good it tastes. So we got a video for you－When the New Yorkers taste pineapple cakes for the first time.
How to DIY?
For those friends who barely have a chance to travel to Taiwan, don’t be sad, you still can find some way to taste this Taiwanese signature pastry
The History of Pineapple Cake
What has made Taiwan’s pineapple cake so popular? The pastry’s celebrity status in Asia can be attributed at least in part to Taiwan’s expertise in pineapple production.
The fruit was grown on Taiwan as early as the mid-17th century and became a key industry during the Japanese colonial time (1895-1945).
The island’s pineapple industry peaked in 1971 as annual production volume reached 4 million cases, the most in the world. Yet Taiwan would not hold the world’s pineapple production crown for long. With Taiwan’s transformation to an industrialized economy, the manufacturing sector boomed, drawing workers away from farms to the cities.
Meanwhile, from 1973 on, Southeast Asian countries moved into the pineapple cultivation business. Because their cost of labor was so low, they were able to undercut Taiwan on the global market with cheaper pineapple.
From the 1970s through the mid-2000s, Taiwan focused on the domestic market. Nobody can say exactly when the pineapple cake was born – some say it has more than a hundred years of history – but the growing surplus of available pineapple in 1970s Taiwan made it necessary to find ways to use up the supply.
Eventually, pastry chefs settled on the pineapple cake. With crumbly, buttery crust on the outside and a fruity jam, it successfully consumed the surplus pineapple and capture Taiwanese’ attention to create enormous business opportunities.
A Food Tour Features Pineapple Cake
Besides selling pineapple cake, some companies provide customers some courses to make pineapple cake by themselves.
You can have the experience－The Taste of Local Food with Justaiwantour. It is a fun activity to do for a family trip. In this tour, you can make your pineapple cakes. You can keep the pastries you make and invite your friend to examine your baking skills. You can also purchase a lot of pineapple cakes after the course (You probably can’t get enough of them by DIY). Our tour guide will take you to find out more delicious foods in the night market. What’s more, while you are waiting for the pineapple cake to be done in the oven, you can try on the traditional wedding gown to explore Chinese ancient wedding customs. This unique tour is highly recommended!
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Of course, we have more food tours! Check this out-Taipei Food Tour
Find out more Taiwanese Food: Popiah－The Traditional Fast-food In Taiwan
Reference resource: These Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes Are the Only Pineapple Cake Worth Eating