Pineapple Tarts (鳳梨酥); Taipei

During our time in Taipei, we spent a fair bit of time looking for pineapple tarts to take home as omiyage – eventually purchasing pineapple tarts from two well known Taiwanese bakeries – Li Yi (李儀餅店) and Chia Te (佳德糕餅). Both bakeries are fairly accessible – Li Yi has a small outlet at the Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, while Chia Te’s set up is further from the City Centre, within walking distance from Nanjing Sanmin MRT station.

The service at Li Yi’s outlet was good, with the staff heating up tasting portions for us to try and patiently dealing with our queries but the overall experience at Chia Te proved superior.

In part, it was because the Chia Te outlet was bustling with activity and fragrant smells (from freshly baked products being set out on trays / being packaged on-site). Tempted by the baked goods smell, we went beyond our original pineapple tart mission, and bought their freshly baked egg tarts as well.

At Chia Te, there was also a wider variety of products to choose from, and although it was possible to purchase pre-packaged boxes of pineapple tarts, there were also “self-service” boxes where we could opt for a mix and match different types of tarts (e.g. pineapple and egg yolk, egg yolk and red bean, hami melon, longan). We probably spent a good half hour (or more) at the Chia Te outlet considering the available options, and came away with many boxes of baked products which we had to carry around for the rest of the day.

One thing we discovered was that the pineapple tart prices at the Chia Te outlet were definitely cheaper than the retail prices for the very same pineapple tarts, at third party re-sellers, like supermarkets, in the city centre. As it is, the Chia Te bakery was charging NT 180 (about SGD 8 / USD 5) for a box of 6 pineapple tarts. We also found that some of the baked products had a relatively short shelf life – 15 days instead of 40 days (Li Yi’s pineapple tarts had a shelf life of 30 days) and that made a difference in deciding what to purchase.

Although the pineapple tarts seemed similar when tasted at Li Yi and Chia Te’s respective shops, the reception back home differed. Chia Te’s pineapple tarts proved to be more popular, and were eaten up far more quickly!

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