On Friday a couple of my Chinese class classmates, other Chinese language students, my teacher and I went to the Kuo Yuan Ye Museum of Cake & Pastry. Kuo Yuan Ye Foods is known primarily for its traditional Chinese-style cakes and pastries; some of the recipes have been passed down since the first pastry shop’s establishment in 1867 in Taipei. Since that founding, the company has expanded into other products and services such as soaps, millet wine, and wedding planning.
The Museum was opened in 2001 in Shilin. There is a small exhibit that displays the history of the company, the company’s products, and visions for the future. There is also a wedding ceremony exhibit area where you can try on traditional Chinese wedding garments. On the second floor there is a DIY area where, after watching a promotional video about the company in both/either Chinese and English, some of the bakers will teach you how to make different pastries. We made the traditional Taiwanese pineapple cake, 鳳梨酥 （fènglísū）.
While the cakes were baking, we toured the museum exhibit and snacked on some Taiwanese 點心 (diǎnxin) and tea.
And the finished products…
We were told that the cakes will stay fresh for up to a week unopened, after which they should be consumed quickly! I would imagine these would freeze well too. I brought my box into Chinese class yesterday and shared them with everyone who couldn’t make it on Friday.
If you are in the area and interested in going the Shilin branch is open Monday-Friday from 09：00~11：30 and 12：30~15：00. Each DIY session is divided into 3 hour increments and they can accommodate up to 40 people. For our group of nine people, we each paid $250NT. The phone number for the program is （02）2838-2700 ext. 457 for Ms. Zeng. More information can be found here: http://www.kuos.com/foundation/cake/cake_cover.htm, but the website is in Chinese. The workers there do speak some English, so for any non-Chinese speakers out there who still want to go, I don’t think it should be so much of an issue. I noticed some of the women working in the bakery part were Filipino and were eager to try speaking English with us. The museum is a little tricky to find, but if you view the map on the website, just follow the dotted line from the blue rectangle to the red circle.