Sunday, October 24, 2004

mooncake galore part 5:
the three treasures

I know you guys are probably bored right now with mooncakes after my mooncake posts here, here, here and here. It's been a month since the mid-autumn festival! Okay, this one is the last one, I promise! At least for this year.

Pao Chuan Little Mooncake Gift Box
♥ the three treasures before the kidnap
If you remember, in the post about the little mooncake, I have also mentioned there are three differently packaged mooncakes in the mooncakes gift-box. These three mooncakes come in very Japanese packaging. I fell in love with them the moment I opened the gift box. I immediately kidnapped them into my bags.

The Three Treasure of Pao Chuan
♥ the three treasure after the kidnap.
Here you are seeing the three treasures that's under pinkcocoa's abduction. You can tell they had been well-cared and pampered (that is until they got dissected)! They are called the three treasures of Pao Chuan (Bao Quan san bao). I am not sure why these are called the three treasure. I guess this means these are the top three selling or most popular Japanese sweets at Pao Chuan (Bao Quan san bao).

Origami Treasure
♥ the double happiness origami box
This cute origami box catches my eyes first. A double happiness (shuang xi) mark is printed on both side of the box. The chinese text at the bottom simply tells you to eat the sweets on the day you bought it or else please refridgerate it.

Cute Heart on top of Origami box
♥ heart on top of origami box for the special one in my heart! (xin shang ren)
I simply love the cute heart on top of the origami box! Isnt it just so adorably cute!

The cute heart along with the double happiness mark on this origami box makes it seems like the type of chinese cakes you would receive when a couple that you know become engaged. This type of 'engagement cake' is called xi bing (happy cake) and it is customary of Taiwanese to distribute xi bing to friends, families and seniors at workplace when they got engaged.

Dismantling the Origami Treasure
♥ "heart-broken" origami box
Dismantling the origami box to reveal a dark brown cake wrapped in plastic package. At first, I thought it would be Pao Chuan's famous little mooncake except with a different flavoured fillings. I guess I was wrong.

Kuri Manju - chestnut sweet cake
♥ chestnut sweet cake
A deep sweet honey smell escaped when the plastic package was removed. I think I am going to like this because I love honey!

Cut it open, you see a thick caramel-brown crust with a sweet white paste. The crust is soft and a little 'doughy'. There is tiny bits of charred caramel zing attached to the crust. Not too bad but I find it a little too soft. And what's the white paste? It's kuri (chestnut in Japanese)!

I think this must be a kuri manju (or is it not called manju?) from Japan. Can someone enlighten me about this?

2 lucky pouches
♥ the two lucky pouches taking it off!
Moving on to the two pretty soft paper pouches. It reminds of Japanese lucky pouch (fu dai in mandarin, I wonder what's the Japanese term for this?). I like the ribbons.

purple treasure pouch
♥ simple yet exquisite form of packaging
This is just gorgeous! Who would thought the combination of a paperbag and a ribbon could be so exquisite. It got me bewitched!

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♥ what's inside the soft-paper pouches?
I pulled out the ribbons and let's have a look what's inside the two lucky pouches. Something similar to the little mooncake but a little bit darker.

pickled plum sweet cake
♥ pickled plum or sour plum sweet cake
It's not little mooncake with a different flavour. It appears to be something in between the kuri manju and the little mooncake. Sorry about the mess here. I didnt know there was a pickled plum (ume in japanese, mei zhi in mandarin) inside.

Here you see the crust has a glossy caramel-brown colour on the outside but the inside is a pale golden colour. The crust like the kuri manju is soft and chewy. The pale orangey filling is probably sword bean paste infused with pickled plum extract but I am not exactly sure of this. It tasted a little weird to me but still acceptable.

kumquat sweet cake
♥ kumquat sweet cake
This really delighted me. A kumquat in the sweet cake! This kumquat sweet cake has a slightly different crust to the pickled plum. The crust is a lot denser and much paler with only the top that is a dark golden brown. I cant work out what's the white paste. My guess is it's still made of sword bean.

I didnt like this sweet cake though. The paste was soaked with the juices of kumquat. I felt like eating a wet lump of cake that has been soaked in sugar water! The crust is very soft too. The texture of the crust is almost like the paste so it kinda felt like you are only eating the paste without the crust.

the three treasure of pao chuan
♥ the three treasures of pao chuan
from left to right:
♥ chestnut sweet cake - origami box
♥ kumquat sweet cake - orangey-pink lucky pouch
♥ pickled plum sweet cake - purple lucky pouch

Looks to me these are in fact Japanese sweet cakes (wagashi in Japanese). Personally, I like the chestnut the best. It's not too sweet with an enticing honey flavour.

hm. I am actually not sure if these wagashi has to do with mooncakes. Would this be the type of mooncakes eaten on mid-autumn in Japan? I have yet to find out myself. Anyone out there who would kindly provide your valuable knowledge?

And herewith, I shall conclude my five part series of mooncake galores for the year 2004. :-)

the three treasure of taiwan (tai wan san bao) are
1 tea
2 sugarcane
3 camphor
they are the top three exports of taiwan.