Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cakehour meets Chinatown

One of our research personnel recently returned from a trip to China.  Always thinking ahead he managed to bring quite a few things back with him for us to share at cake hour. They must have taken up quite a bit of room in his luggage.

I just got back from China and look what I brought!
So much to choose from and no idea what they are...yet!
This was certainly not your usual cake time fare.  Some of it tended toward the sweet side but on the other hand the dried wasabe scallops were something else indeed.  These came from Hong Kong and were quite unusual. Who knew that somewhere they were drying scallops?  And then adding Wasabe! It was a new taste treat to be sure.  One of the takers opened it up and exclaimed "This smells like fish!"  Duh!  The prospect of trying one also provoked some mixed reactions as you can see in the facial expressions. All in all they were not bad, however.  They did taste like a scallop, were a little chewy due to the dried aspect and the wasabe provided a kick at the end without blowing your nostrils out.   Some of us even had a couple of them. One would not recommend them with a cup of coffee but for a protein rich snack - why not. They would not go well with whipped cream, however!

This looks like a bag of hard candy!
But on closer inspection ...it's a bag o'scallops!
One little dried scallop per bag!
The secret ingredient!
But I don't want a dried Wasabi scallop!
I loves me a dried Wasabi scallop and yes it smells like fish!
Other things in the mix included "Prune Cakes". These were described as being like a filled pound cake.  The best supposedly are the ones that are filled with pineapple and are made by the company that made the ones we had.  Although it was thought the package contained a variety in truth it was all prunes. The consistency of the cake with the filling was VERY reminiscent of Fig Newtons albeit a thicker version.  Not bad!
Fruit filled pound cakes..the finest brand!
Once again, individual wrapping for your pleasure!
Instead of and assortment of fillings it's a Prune Newton!
We also had some candied yams.  Since we had eaten sweet potatoes at lunch this was a bit redundant but they were good. The description on the package was quite interesting: "Taiwan Speciat King's Sweet Potato.  Fragrance of Tung blossoms on a mountain with May's gentle fall of snow from the heart of Hakka traditions". We gather that speciat was a typo for special but other than that we have no clue what this means especially in reference to yams.
Sweet potatoes for the second time in one day!
A little different format, however!
Speciat King's Sweet Potato
No clue what his means - let alone what a Tung Blossom is!
Lastly there were some filled crackers. They reminded some of peanut butter crackers though the fillings - brown sugar malt and black sesame - were not what you would find in your typical vending machine net to the Planters or other peanut crackers. The malt crackers were a bit chewy and different. The black sesame had a more familiar flavor.

Wait - there's more!
Cookies...China style!
Black sesame or..
Sugar Malt!
We also noticed that the Chinese seem to have learned from the Japanese packaging habit in that everything including the scallops were individually wrapped. That's a lot of wrapping paper!

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