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Posts Tagged ‘sweet’

I feel like in every country I visit, there is one dish or snack that I feel compelled to consume as much of as possible during my trip. In Thailand, it was mangos and coconut milk sticky rice and in Korea, it was hotteok .

In Taipei, it was hot soft soymilk pudding with a sweet peanut soup and sweetened red beans. You can find dou hua 豆花 in many Cantonese dim sum restaurants, usually served with a sweet ginger syrup, and sometime I see it in Japan, drizzled with a black sugar syrup. Taipei serves it up at stalls devoted to Chinese style desserts soups, and you can add a variety of sweetened beans, mochi made of taro and yam, and jellies to your order.

My standing order was dou hua with hot sweet soy bean milk, boiled peanuts and sweetened large red beans. Most stalls serve their dou hua in a light sugar syrup, but I much preferred the hot soy milk instead. The dessert is light and not too sweet, the tofu is custardy and silken in texture, mixing well with the soft peanuts and red beans. I had it for breakfast, and as a late night snack after a day of eating. I even lugged back instant dou hua mix and peanut soup in an attempt to make it at my apartment, but it isn’t the same. I guess I’ll have to make a trip back to Taipei to eat it again 😀

Ningxia Night Market @ Taipei, Taiwan

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Typhoon number 12 is currently trying to decide where or not it wants to plow through the kingdom of peaches and grapes, so while the weather is windy and rainy outside, I am inside thinking of desserts. 🙂

So before coming to Japan, I actually had never eaten a parfait before. I guess they just aren’t a popular dessert where I grew up. Count me among the happily converted though! In Japan, the parfait usually refers to layers of soft serve or scooped ice cream (sometimes both), whipped cream and toppings which range from cornflakes (surprisingly delicious) to custard, coffee jelly, jam or preserves, and fresh fruit piled high in a tall glass.


Recently, the one fancy fancy hotel in my city made the news with their seasonal fruit parfait, so of course we drove up the mountain to try it out. The type of parfait changes every couple months, and we were lucky to be there at the tail end of the the peach season.

I love peaches and there was very nearly a whole peach perced precariously on top of a scoop vanilla bean ice cream. The fresh peach was sweet with just a slight tang, pairing well with the mellow ice cream and the layers of thick custard and whipped cream underneath. About half way through the glass, I was surprised to find a couple layers of tangy peach preserves. I like to think of parfaits as the dessert that becomes more complex as you eat your way down to the bottom of each glass. I will admit, I was wishing for some crunchy cornflakes, but the extra spoonful of preserves at the very bottom was a nice surprise.

Fujiya Fruits Park Hotel@ Yamanashi City, Japan

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I’ve started to count the seasons here by not the weather, but the appearance and disappearance of Japanese sweets, wagashi from the local grocery store.kashiiwaa
I have one weak spot for wagashi devoted wholly to kashiwa mochi 柏餅,which is rice cakes formed into a pancake like shape, and filled with a sweet bean paste, then wrapped in a oak or kashiwa leaf. The sweet is associated with Children’s Day 子供の日 in May. I specifically love the ones filled with a mixture of miso an, or sweet white bean paste mixed with a small amount of salty Saikyo miso paste.

From the middle of April, I start to keep an eye on the wagashi corner of the grocery store, and do a little happy dance when I spot them for the first time in the season. Because these sweets definitely  have a season!  Wait more than a few days after the 5th of May, and you’ll have to wait another year before they come back.  While I like red bean mochi, and generally enjoy the taste of sweet bean paste, sometimes the tooth aching sweetness can be a bit too much even for me.
kashiiwaa2
Miso an filled kashiwa mochi is at once sweet and salty, the miso paste lends a depth of flavor missing from regular red bean paste, making the filling taste almost creamy. I guess adding the miso to the filling is the same concept as adding flaky sea salt to a chocolate cookie, or salted caramels, the salty taste accenting the taste of the white bean paste and preventing the filling from being overly sweet. It’s difficult even in Japan to find wagashi shops that still make miso an kashiwa mochi, but if by chance you do find a place selling them, please give them a try!

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Thai coconut rolled sweets and a light jasmine tea. The coconut and jasmine flavors really work well together.

Betty Smile Clinic +, MBK 5th floor@ Bangkok, Thailand

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