While my mother was in Taiwan, one of my cousins announced his engagement. In Asian cultures I think it’s pretty traditional that when you make big announcements like that that you present gifts to the people you’re making the announcement to.
My cousin and his fiancée chose cookie gift sets to hand out to their relatives. I’m sure they spent a pretty penny because his mom (my mom’s sister) is from a family with 6 other siblings and most of them have adult children, and some of those children (our cousins) have families and kids of their own, too. Hopefully, his fiancée doesn’t come from a large family, too, because otherwise the expense would be crazy. I’m told they presented the older relatives with special teas and other items in addition to the cookie sets. Eek.
The cookie gift set comes in a cute metal tin and contain a variety of sweet and savory cookies, crackers and cakes. My favorites, though, are the pineapple cakes (feng li su).
I love pineapple cakes! There’s a huge difference between good ones and the ones you buy at the grocery store that have a chewy, gummy pineapple jam and an exterior cake layer that feels/tastes like cardboard. You can always tell the difference between a good one and a bad one.
Pineapple cakes usually come in rectangular shapes but round ones, like the ones in the gift set, aren’t unusual. Also, most of the time you can only get pineapple cakes (good ones) during festivals like Chinese New Year or on special occasions so they’re a treat.
Taiwanese-style pineapple cakes are different from ones that come from a lot of Southeast Asian countries. The latter usually contain a pineapple jam that’s spiced with cinnamon, cloves or star anise. The Taiwanese ones are just straight-up pineapple jam with a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread exterior. Love ’em.
There are two types of pineapple cake included in the gift set: plain and ones with hard-cooked egg yolk. I prefer the yolk-less ones. As a side note, I prefer mooncakes without hard-cooked egg yolks, too.
I would say that these Arisa pineapple cakes are pretty good but not the best I’ve ever had. There’s this other Taiwanese pineapple cake that I tried years and years ago that was so amazing but I don’t remember who made it 😦
Anyway, there are some other interesting and beautiful cookies in the gift set and I’m having a lot of fun eating my way through it 😀
I plan on keeping the tin when I’m finished eating the contents. It’s just too cute to toss.