Stop here with a cup of tea, read what I think, sip some Chinese culture knowledge, perhaps…makes your life change.
-by Hsiao-Yu Liao
Cake and Pastry: Your Friend of Lifetime
From the birth to the death, from the beginning to the end of the year, there is always 糕餅(gāobǐng – Cake/Pastry) connected with the celebrations and the folk custom in Chinese culture. 糕餅(gāobǐng – Cake/Pastry) can be devided into two categories, one is made from 米(mǐ – Rice) and the other is made from 麵粉(miànfěn – Flour). The form and the shape are based on the traditional types but the producing of餡料(xiàn liào – Stuffing) varied from each bakery that there are vegetarian, non-vegetarian, sweet, salty, spicy and even exotic styles.
The classics –綠豆椪(lǜ dòu pèng – Mung Bean Pastry)
綠豆椪(lǜ dòu pèng – Mung Bean Pastry)
綠豆椪(lǜ dòu pèng – Mung Bean Pastry), stuffed with mashed mung bean, got its name as one time the baker forgot to turn it over when baking and made it become as white and round as the pingpang ball. It is the so-called classic 台式月餅(tái shì yuèbǐng – Taiwanese Mooncake) with餡料(xiàn liào – Stuffing) including mashed mung bean, 豬油(zhūyóu – Lard), 紅蔥頭(hóng cōng tóu – Shallot) and sometimes the pork. A layer of crisp and a layer of crust take turns, making it have lots of feather-like layers and taste differently compared to other types of mooncake.
The development of綠豆椪(lǜ dòu pèng – Mung Bean Pastry) somehow showed the econimic change and development. Due to the short of ingrediants, there was only mashed mung bean. As the economics has become better and better, the pork and紅蔥頭(hóng cōng tóu – Shallot) are added, resulting in the original kind of sweet mashed mung bean named as “LiBai” (a famous poet in Tung dynasty) and the kind added with salty meat are called “SuDongPo” (a famous poet in Song dynasty who adores meat).
台灣糕餅 (TáiWān gāobǐng – Taiwanese Cake/Pastry)
月餅 (yuèbǐng – Moon Cake)
In our lifetime, there are different kinds of pastries to celebrate our new life stage, such as 酥餅(sū bǐng – Crispy Pastry) for one month old of child, 紅龜粿(hóng guī guǒ – Mashed Red Beam Steamed Cake) for grown-up celebration. Some pastries are used for varied purposes, for example, 狀元糕(zhuàngyuán gāo – Scholar Pastry) stands for scholary honor, 平安糕(píngān gāo – Ping-An Rice Cake) and 發粿 (fāguǒ – Steamed Sponge Cake) stands for good luck. And there are other pastries brought up in festivals, including 年糕(nián gāo – Rice Cake) in Chinese Lunar New Year, 綠豆糕(lǜ dòu gāo – Mung Bean Cake) in Tomb Sweeping Festival and 月餅 (yuèbǐng – Moon Cake). The list above are all in sweet taste. As for the exotic style, there is the typical famous 鳳梨酥(fèng lí sū – Pineapple Cake) with special curry flavor.
Pastries are not just food but the symbol of folk custom culture, therefore one of the manufacturers established the “Museum of Cake and Pastry” for people to dig more into cakes and pastires they have. There is also the “International Cake and Pastry Festival” in Taichung, showing the outstanding culture of Taiwan to the world.
They said pastries go well with the tea. As last time we introduced the tea to you, I highly recommand you to have綠豆椪(lǜ dòu pèng – Mung Bean Pastry) with a pot of烏龍茶(wūlóngchá – Oolong Tea) and enjoy the article of Chine