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I’m Mari.
On Marivelous Me! you’ll find recipes, food gifts, food I’ve traveled for and food solutions. Poke around, maybe you’ll find inspiration for something you’re working on. Enjoy! 

recipes
Wednesday
Aug222012

fenglisu - taiwanese pineapple cake

I have an eating relationship with many of my friends. This is true for my friend Nelly, who currently lives in Taiwan, as well. We bonded over the fact, that while we were working together at Kmart, she took the French Culinary Institute's 100-hour pastry course, Pastry Techniques. Every time she comes back to NYC, we eat. A lot. And talk a lot about food. On her most recent trip back to the States, she brought me a traditional Taiwanese dessert called fenglisu (pronounced fènglísū) from Cha Cha Thé

Like many Asian desserts, fenglisu isn't sweet - the cake part is as sweet as shortbread and almost as crumbly. As for the pineapple filling, imagine a dark, sticky, fibrous jam that has been slow-cooked and naturally sweet, there's nothing Dole about it. She told me that fenglisu is traditionally made with pineapple but some bakeries substitute winter melon for the filling, since it's cheaper and nets the same result. Without having tried those impostors, they probably lack the fiberousness of the pineapple, which seems to me a key texture component. She confirmed that winter melon makes a poor substitute. 

The assortment that she brought me had two of each (from left to right): traditional, duck egg yolk (!!!), cranberry, and walnut. After having tried all four flavors (in one sitting - oink oink) I'd say my order of most to least favorite was: cranberry, egg yolk, walnut and then traditional. Once you've had the fun flavors, it's hard to go back to plain. 

From their (very slow to load) beautiful website, everything at Cha Cha Thé looks very precious and delicious. Cha Cha Thé's fenglisu is probably the equivalent of Ladurée's macarons, precious and worth a visit. The box is exquisite (nicer quality than Ladurée, actually). The box is pale blue, like Tiffany blue at ten percent, just a whisper of color. The dark two-tone ribbon ties back to the teashop's interior: very calm and Zen. Lucky and maybe not so lucky for Nelly, Cha Cha Thé is located around the corner from her home. 

I'm hoping to visit Nelly in Taiwan one of these years but I have to prepare. I know it's going to be an eating frenzy. 

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