Happy Moon Festival! I hope you all had a great one and filled lots of moon cakes, BBQ, and pomelos! Growing up, each year as Chinese New Year and Moon festival approached, I would look forward to eating the traditional Taiwanese confections with my family, not so much for the taste, but mostly to continue the tradition by getting together and enjoying the delicacies.
One of the many cravings I had during the time when I was living in the States was pineapple cake. When the craving hits, I'll visit the pastry store near my house where it sells traditional Taiwanese pastries. However, nothing could compare to the ones I've had in Taiwan. Pineapple cake was always on the top of my list to bring back when I visited Taiwan because it is something that reminds me of home.
JIU ZHEN NAN PASTRY CONCEPT STORE
Right before the Moon Festival this year, I visited Tainan and made a stop at the brand new Jiu Zhen Nan Pastry Concept Store (舊振南和餅文化台南概念店) during the trip. First off, Tainan is known as the culinary center of Taiwan, and Jiu Zhen Nan, the pastry store with over 129 years of history, is essentially the staple of Taiwanese pastry scene. The renowned pastry shop continues to promote the traditional Han Bing (Taiwanese pastry/漢餅) culture and aesthetics under the 5th generation management, and they are taking on a new approach with the new establishment by providing a full immersive experience to its customers.
OLD MEETS NEW
The interior is resolutely a blend of traditional Chinese and modern Western influences – combining the old with the new. Lots of red and gold are used in store. The use of red and gold colors and the bold architecture itself certainly make a grand entrance.
AFTERNOON TEA FOR 2
The concept store now offers a Jiu Zhen Nan exclusive tea set (NT$380) with all of their signature pastries, except they added a special treat that's only available at the Jiu Zhen Nan concept store- a lychee and osmanthus flower flavor gelato sandwiched in between 2 butter cookie crusts. The gelato sandwich is a collaboration with the award-winning Tainan based gelato shop Ninao Gelato.
Besides the gelato sandwich, the stars of the set are definitely the mini mung bean pastry and the minced pork mushroom cake. The iconic mung bean cake has so much flavor and so many layers of texture. The skin is flaky with a smooth and creamy mung bean filling. The savory minced pork mushroom cake on the other hand is rich in flavor with a harder crust and a moist filling.
MUNG BEAN PASTRY WORKSHOP
To get the full Jiu Zhen Nan experience, you can sign up for the FREE mung bean pastry workshops they offer here at this particular new store. There are 3 sessions per day and each session is limited to 12 people.
I couldn't recall the last time I've had mung bean pastry, another nostalgic food for me. It is a popular traditional dessert that's made from unshelled green beans.There are many varieties of mung bean pastry from taste, color, to shape. But in general, they are shaped by different mooncake moulds or usually stamped with Chinese characters on the top. The JZH mung bean pastry normally has to go through a total of 7 steps before packaging/being served. So yes, this one little guy is the essence of hard work and craftsmanship. The taste is light and refreshing and pair best with a cup of tea.
Upon entering the JZH lab, I was asked to pick an apron and a work station where the staffs already prepared everything needed for the workshop. The instructor guided us from rolling the dough to stamping the red Chinese characters on top of the dough, the entire process was so much fun and educational.
After putting the mung bean dough into the oven, you'll be given a paper bag and stamps to decorate the bag. BUT! There is a twist, you may only use the box of stamps they provide with only the strokes of Chinese characters. Trust me, this is harder than you'd think. I would recommend typing down the characters you want to stamp on your phone first and deconstruct the character from there, or else you might end up with a funny looking character like mine. Could you tell I stamped 食/Food ?
Free canvas tote bag when you purchase the signature mini pastry gift box (7pcs)
*For the first 1000 boxes sold, the plate is not included
Classic JZN Afternoon Tea Set (NT$380)
Address: No. 184, Sec. 2, Lin Sen Road, Tainan City, Taiwan
*They have a total of 18 locations throughout Taiwan, check their website for the closest store near you.
Phone: 06 238 7666
Use #taipeifoodiegoestotainan to see more photos from my Tainan trip.