Sugar & Spice 糖村: Taiwan’s Candy Pride

Why Sugar & Spice is Taiwan’s No.1 Gift of Choice

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Located on Dunhua S. Road in Taipei City, Sugar & Spice’s décor is minimalistic and bright. More than half of the customers in store are tourists, speaking a diverse array of languages while holding exquisitely packaged gift boxes. To the unsuspecting eye, this may appear to be an international boutique. In fact, this is a rapidly rising boutique star in Taiwan’s snack world. Not only is Sugar & Spice the top wedding candy and full month cake choice for domestic and international celebrities, their products are must-buy gifts for tourists.

Business Weekly referred to Sugar & Spice as a store which “sells desserts like LV”, the business has grown at a steady rate of 15-20% annually, producing approximately 1/3 of nougats sold in Taiwan each year. The French nougat was voted as one of the Top 10 hardest snacks to put down by China’s Little Red Book on WeChat, alongside Godiva chocolates and Shiroi Koibito cookies of Hokkaido, Japan, the only Taiwanese snack included in the ranking. The soul of the brand consists of the product line itself, manufactured only with the highest grade ingredients, through a stringent production process. The most popular product, nougat, for example, includes high quality US almonds selected by hand, President brand butter, trehalose from Japan and fresh egg whites beaten that day. On average, the cost of each nougat is three times that of other brands. In addition to this, the production process is meticulous. Different nougat recipes are even utilised with the change of seasons. During summertime, trehalose volume is increased, despite its six-fold cost, and baking temperature is adjusted to give a more refreshing taste while preserving the perfect chewy but not sticky taste.

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Another star product, the pineapple pastry, selects only the highest quality local pineapples. Different varieties of pineapple are selected during each season, mixed in specific proportions according to characteristics of pineapples produced in different regions throughout central and southern Taiwan. The pulp of the fruit is preserved, ensuring each bite is filled with an authentic tangy flavor, providing the best quality and taste possible. Innovations such as the addition of Parmesan cheese into the pastry crust for a chewy experience wildly popular with tourists from Japan.

In addition to bestsellers such as nougats and pineapple pastries, Sugar & Spice offers a variety of desserts ranging from Taiwanese snacks to French delicacies. Not only do products come in exquisite gift boxes, trendy and dainty gift boxes are also available for international travellers to select and combine products for individual gift needs. Sugar & Spice products were even selected for the 2016 Golden Horse Awards as the perfect gift for international celebrities attending the festivities.

As Sugar & Spice locations are only available in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China, Sugar & Spice is now working with China Airlines to launch the Good Day event. The event will allow more travellers to experience the draw of Taiwan’s must-buy gifts.  From 25 September 2016, travellers who check in at China Airline counters located in Hong Kong International Airport and Incheon International Airport will be able to try Sugar & Spice’s French nougat!

All photos used in this article are provided by Sugar & Spice.
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Chateau de Chine Hotel serving Muslim Friendly meals in Kaohsiung

A slightly different take on food. There is a restaurant in Kaohsiung that serves Muslim Friendly meals. Chateau de Chine Hotel (高雄翰品大飯店 – 穆斯林友善餐廳) This restaurant is one of two restaurants in Kaohsiung, Taiwan serving Muslim Friendly meals. All ingredients are halal and specially sourced from suppliers. The meal is served in a private room and a separate kitchen is used for preparation. All utensils and cutlery are separated from the others restaurants in the hotel. The food is prepared Cantonese style and is only available for advanced order.

This trip to Taiwan was made possible by the good grace of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Department of Commerce of Taiwan.

Chef Teng of Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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Chef Teng Restaurant (Main Shop)

I was recently in Taiwan. Specifically in the city of Kaohsiung. Now, I have been to Taipei many times for holidays. Yet, I have never been to Kaohsiung for a proper holiday. Many years ago, I did spend a night in Kaohsiung, but one night doesn’t do this beautiful city any justice. The food for one is great! Any extended stay in Kaohsiung, must be accompanied by a furious sampling of the great food here. One of such places I visited while I was there is Chef Teng Restaurant (鄧師傅功夫菜). He has many locations in Kaohsiung. The one I had visited is the main shop at 中正三路82號 (仁愛一街). Chef Teng (retired) was there to meet us. Lucky me. The other Chef Teng (his eldest son) who is usually in another shop in Taipei, happened to be around. It was a great opportunity to chat with both chefs who shared their ideas about the food they make for their customers.

The 2 dishes above are what Chef Teng is famous for. He does not disappoint. I hate fatty stuff. But he promised that it’s not what I imagine. So I gave it a try. Wow! Especially the thigh meat pictured on the right, it had the right texture (not to tough, not too soft) and there was no greasy after taste.

Chef Teng is a family business. The shop caters mainly to the everyday crowd and prices are reasonable. He has a large clientele of regulars that eat at his shop. Very much like us Singaporeans, who will regularly visit the neighbourhood Chap Cai stall in the coffeeshop. Some of the dishes I tried and liked are pictured below.

 

In fact, the entrance of his shop is set-up just like a Chap Cai stall. Take a look.

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The Shop Front

You pick your dishes buffet style and then the staff will serve you what you have chosen with a bowl of white rice.

Finally, after gorging yourself silly with all the heavenly food, treat yourself to some nice dessert. Chef Teng has thoughtfully packed them into little glass bottles if you would like to take them home to savour instead.

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Chef Teng’s Dessert

Incidentally, he serves them both cold and hot. They taste nice either way. This trip to Taiwan was made possible by the good grace of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Department of Commerce of Taiwan. Like most Taiwanese I’ve met, they have been the most gracious and wonderful hosts.

 

 

 

 

 

A day trip to JB

For the uninitiated, JB is short form for Johor Bahru, the Malaysian city nearest to Singapore. It sits just across the causeway, which is the most common route used by Malaysians and Singaporeans to visit each other’s country. There are other ways to visit Singapore from Malaysia. For example, some elephants found in Pulau Tekong a Singapore island in the north were believed to have swam over. Anyway, without further delay, let me present to you my first Xiaomi Mi3 food series.

We were famished when we arrived, because of delays caused by one of us, who had “lost” his passport. After 2 hours of frantic searching at home and in the office, he found it and we were on our way. Of course, we had already missed breakfast by then… So, when I hit the buffet table, I headed straight for the rice. Pictured is a very unique sambal (hot sauce), because it contains durian flesh. I’ve never tasted anything like it. Yumz…

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Fried Durian. It is the whole durian seed with flesh intact, dipped into batter and deep fried. I don’t really dig fried stuff, so I was not taken by it.

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Durian kueh. This one agrees more with me, as it is steamed. I felt that more durian could have been added and less starch, as the smell and taste is quite mild.

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Durian cake. A pretty but normal piece of cake.

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Roasted durian. Ok, this one is new to me too. It is again a whole durian seed with flesh intact wrapped in aluminium foil and thrown into a BBQ. The result, a charred lump of durian.

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The climax and what we were there for. The fresh durian. After all the different durian dishes, we all still felt that the fruit tastes best fresh. Rich and creamy with a slight bitter undertone.

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After that, a cup of nice and smooth Rose Coffee to wash the food down. Satisfied.

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PS. If you are wondering why everything is durian based, it’s because my friend had found this place advertising a durian feast. So curious us, decided to go and try. In case you don’t know what a durian is, because it is a tropical fruit that’s mostly found in South East Asia. You may read up this wiki entry. If you are inclined to make the trip yourself to JB and would like to visit the places I went to, the durian buffet was at Silka Hotel. Google maps link here. We did not have the coffee at the hotel, but drove about 15min to another place. It’s called The Garden Just Want Coffee. It is part of a chain of Just Want Coffee joints. The one we went to (no prizes for guessing) was garden themed. The ambience and location was perfect for such a coffee place.

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Eating, a national passion of Singapore!

Eating, a national passion of Singapore!

Welcome to the first post! Like I said, this would mostly be a photoblog. Besides, food blogs are a dime a dozen. So why am I starting my blog off with a food post? Well, I’m not going to compete with those famous food bloggers. On top of that, food to me is a very personal thing. What you like may not be what I like and vice versa. So don’t trust me if I say it’s good. Go try it and decide for yourself.

Anyway, back to the post. In my opinion, food stalls take time to mature, because like a skill, it takes years of honing to cook something to perfection. So, I was kinda surprised that a new stall in a new estate could come out with something that is way above normal foodcourt fare. To say that the noodles are outstanding might be a stretch, but I usually conserve my calories and will not hesitate to stop eating if I don’t like it. This bowl of noodles I not only finished, I even drank a large portion of the soup! For me, it was the soup that won it. It had that prawn taste and smell that I remembered from the prawn mee of my childhood.

The stall named Penang Kia and is run by a young couple. Based on what I’ve read from other blogs (I did some research before writing), they were ex SIA cabin crew turned hawkers. Of course they did not start from scratch and actually learnt the ropes from the lady’s father who runs a hawker stall in Penang. I guess that’s what inspired the name Penang Kia. So if you are in Sengkang and hanker for a bowl of prawn noodles, head on down to Blk 205D Compassvale Lane, Singapore 544205.