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May 10, 2007 12:43 AM

Richmond – Pacific East Mall - Tw Bestway Foods – Saving the best for last … Taiwanese preserved fruit, pork jerky, hot jelly drinks

This ends the tale of my two hour tour of the Pacific East Mall. Tw Bestway Foods was the shop that impressed me the most. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

There were lots of bins and jars of unusual and great looking preserved fruits.

They had way over a dozen types of preserved plums. Just a few: Licorice shu plum, woo long tea plum, sakura plums, mint plum, cherry plum.

Some of the bins had notes. Wine Plums were recommendation #1. Dry tomato were good and juice plum .. top one.

Some other interesting fruits: Star fruit with plum flavor, honey sweet potatoes, licorice lemons with mint, plum guava, pretty chili colored honey mango, green sweet and sour mango, rose arbutus, mulberries, hawthorne,

They had the fruit called “olives’ but I think that might because of the shape. There wer special licorice olives, spicy red olives, dry olive.

There were beautiful bagged flower teas like marigold mint. Some were called fruit cocktail teas in flavors of melon, apple and mixed fruit.

A shelf seemed a homage to England with dried lavender, country garden tea and English garden tea. They looked like the pretty dried flowers from a garden. There were little sample jars to smell the dozen or so teas.

They serve milk teas some of which were made of the beautiful flower teas. They had hot jelly drinks like hot grass jelly. Some of the drinks combined tea and jelly like jasmine green tea and jelly. A little cooler held jewel-like liquids in clear plastic glasses.

There were other interesting items like pretty brown dried brown pomelos, hot tamarind rocks, roast black beans, fish cubes, various jerky like pork, garlic favas, and hot cuttlefish.

There were a few tea pots and some Chinese doll-like figurines … but they seemed like samurai.

The thing is that all this looked stellar fresh. Bulk fruits were mainly $3 for 1/4 pound with some a little more.

Has anyone been here or have experience with Taiwanese preserved fruit. Any suggestions on what to try?

And if you have been to this shop … as you enter the shop, there’s a pre-recorded voice saying something in Chinese. What does it say?

Also, the people in the shop didn't speak much English. Does anyone know if you must buy 1/4 pound minimum of each type of fruit? Can you mix fruit in one bag if the price is the same?

Tw Bestway Foods

3288 Pierce St C-125
Richmond, CA 94804
(510) 524-8891

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  1. Mmm.. I love the dried hawthorne, the one that looks like dried cranberries with seeds. I also like the dried plums.. the wet looking ones. However, I read in a previous post you've written (about banana sauce) that you're not a huge fan of the clove taste. Chinese dried plums often times taste like cloves... a lot of American-born people really dislike the taste.. it's very acquired.

    The olives really are olives. I'm not a fan :/

    1. I bought a mixed bag of just about everything, and liked just about nothing.Like Sophia said, a lot of that stuff is a VERY aquired taste. Some of the items had such an unusual taste I simply couldn't force myself to eat them. I'm not knocking the place, I assume this is what the stuff is supposed to taste like, it's just that if you've never had that kind of thing before, you may be in for a surprise. I might have to go back to try the drinks, though...

      6 Replies
      1. re: Ozumo

        Thanks ... good to know I can mix a bag of everything. Despite all the warnings I want to give it a try next time I'm at the mall and it is helpful to be forwarned about what to expect. Will report back if anything is worthwhile.

        1. re: rworange

          Yeah, it's worth trying, everyone's palate is different. Just be prepared that some stuff is REALLY bitter. Try and put bitter and sweet stuff in different bags.

          1. re: rworange

            I love just about everything you described, but that's because I grew up with them as treats and snacks. Ask for a taste if you want to be safe. Happy exploring!

            1. re: skus

              Thanks ... there are signs 'no samples'. Sigh ... but given the negative response it sounds like he'd loose some business if he allowed that.

              1. re: rworange

                Again, I really don't want to sound like I'm bashing the place, I'm sure it's good for what they do, it's just the extreme bitter flavors of several items didn't suit my palate. Give it a shot, try a small bag of some of the sweeter flavors, and see what you think. I don't remember how much I spent, but I don't think a small bag would cost very much.

                1. re: rworange

                  If you find another place, many of these sweets/snacks stores do offer samples. I know the sign says no samples, but ask anyways. Most all that I have gone to will give you some to try. Also, many of these are not to be eaten quickly, but rather savored. I nibble on the dried plums and let the haw flakes sit on my tongue as I savor the tangy sweetness.

          2. The jewel-like apricot-colored cup of cold plum jelly is almost sensuous.

            Juicy, delicate, soft ... it is both salty and sweet with a little smokiness. On top is a tiny, salty dried plum. That salty/sweet flavor is jarring yet appealing. I might never order this particular flavor again, but I will definately try the other flavors. It might not be for everyone, but I liked it.

            I bought a mixed bag of preserved fruit from the bins in the center of the shop. Thanks for the tip Ozumo ... I had separate bags for like stuff ... olives, dried fruit, sugared (I think) fruit, plums.

            The best so far was the bright green sweet and sour mango that was sticky and crunchy with nice mango flavor and tang. They are about the color of Azumo's avatar.

            That's what a lot of what I tried so far had in common ... crunch.

            The round green 'juicy plum' labeled 'top one' is a crunchy green plum I am guessing ... as in those tiny marble-sized unripe plums Berkeley Bowl sells. Now I know one use for those plums ... though the fresh plums were pretty good au natural.

            Anyway, back to the preserved green plum ... I had an active dislike for this when I bit into it. My initial reaction with each bite was ... ugh ... but ... I kind of got into it ... the crunch ... the tang.

            The bright red spicy olive, really was an olive as others have indicated, but tasted nothing like an olive. Again there was that crisp crunch, a little sweet with a mild spice burn. Don't know what to think of this. I might try a few more.

            Didn't like the arbutus, mulberries or hawthore at all.

            I tried one of the other plums ... If I hadn't had one of these type of plums before at Teance, I would have been scandalized by the taste. It is intense and unusual but kind of interesting. As others have said, not for everyone.

            I'll report back in a few weeks when I finish this batch. There are still the bins along the wall to be tried.