Saturday, October 23, 2004

mooncake galore part 4:
mini moon from japan in my room

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ShinChan came back from Taiwan with 5 large boxes of his favourite mooncake: xiao yue bing (little or mini mooncake). He claimed that this is not just any other ordinary xiao yue bing but from it is Japanese mini mooncake from Pao Chuan bakery.

Pao Chuan (pinyin: bao quan, meaning spring of treasure) bakery was actually first set up in Kyoto, Japan in 1943 by a Taiwanese. It goes by the name of Housendo in Japan and bears the same meaning with its chinese title. Pao Chuan bakery is the first bakery in Taiwan to come up with the idea of having small bite-sized mooncakes that can be downed in a couple of bites. Traditional Taiwanese mooncakes are usually too big to be chowed down at once, even if you share. The mini mooncake is more convenient and becomes well-received and popular soon after its release. This idea of bite-sized mooncakes are widely copied nowadays.

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12xiao yue bing and the three treasures of pao chuan
Inside the xiao yue bing li he (little mooncake gift pack) are are 12 mini mooncakes. The three very distinctive packages in the middle are the three treasures of Pao Chuan bakery (Bao Quan San Bao).

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xiao yue bing - individually packed little mooncake
I couldnt wait to try this little mooncake that ShinChan has been raving about many times. It must be good. Though in my heart, I still long for my favourite Taiwanese mooncake: luu dou peng. Alright, I really have to promise this is my last time mentioning luu dou peng. It must be getting on everyone's nerve that I mentioned it everytime I write about mooncakes. :p

Anyway I reckon these individually packed little mooncakes are really cute and very presentable as a gift on its own even when you dont have a gift box to put it in. So what we did was we took out all the little mooncakes from one of the boxes and distribute these mooncakes to friends. Everyone get one!

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♥ a mini moon in my room! kawaii~
Sorry guys, no nice picture here because I simple could not wait. When a girl wants her mooncake, she has just got to have it now!

A sweet milky aroma filled the room once the pack was torn open. Nice!The crust is soft to the touch and not as flaky as the normal traditional type. I think I have forgotten to mention this little mooncake is actually a mini version of the traditional Taiwanese mooncake except that it has a different filling. More on this later.

The pale yellow colour of the crust sure resembled a bright round moon!

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♥ pale golden flaky crust, just like a moon!
Here is another pic of the little mooncake. This looks a little drier than the one above and not as plumb too. Nope. This is not a result of uneven qualities. This particular little mooncake had been kept in the freezer for about a week. Why store in a freezer you might ask. Mind you, we had really hot weather 2 weeks ago resulting on mouldy pineapple cakes. You had no idea how heart-broken I was when I awoke one morning to find most of my pineapple cakes had gone mouldy!

Henceforth, into the freezer they went. Freezing prolongs their perishable lives....or so we thought!

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♥ soft, fluffy and velvety contents
Once again apologies! You are seeing the remnant of a little mooncake after your highness took her first humble bite.

ooh la la! The mooncake seemed to have melted inside my mouth immediately. My mouth was filled with a punch of lustrous creamy velvety flavour. The filling was feathery, fluffy, silky, smooth, milky, rich. Oh. Just so lush!

As with the crust...what crust? I couldnt even taste the crust! The creamy filling with a strong hint of milky scent over-power the crust. Not good for crust-lovers. :-(

Traditional Taiwanese mooncake has a flaky crust, unlike the soft-chewy crust found in cantonese mooncakes. This version of mooncake is believed to have originated from the northern region of China. As with the filling, it is usually filled with a blend of mung bean paste and mince meat. Sometimes pork floss is added instead or vegetarian pork floss for vegan. For yolk-lovers, there is also a version with yolk. There is also one with curry flavour.

This xiao yue bing however is not filled with mung bea. It is not savoury too with no sight of minced meat or pork floss. It is filled with the paste of jack bean, or bai feng dou (white phoenix bean), an indigenous plant in Taiwan.

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♥ sweet and creamy jack bean paste with thin light flaky crust
I was about to develop a headache after three bites. The goodness of the white paste was a little over-empowering. Too sweet. It felt like eating a condensed milk paste. I decided that I still like my other mooncake more. (phew~ I was about to mention the name) But then again, I wonder if it was because I didnt have a pot of chinese tea to go with it.

I still havent figured out why this is called Japanese-style little mooncake (ri shi xiao yue bing). It is simply a mini version of the larger mooncake. Maybe the small-sized concept stems out from Japan?

Pao Chuan Bakery
♥ in Taiwan: Pao Chuan Food Co.
♥ in Japan: Housendo, Kyoto

bai feng dou (white phoenix bean) is also known as
- sword bean
- dao dou in mandarin
- natamame in Japanese
- kacang parang in Malay or Indonesian
These all come to mean sword bean!