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Apr 18, 2011 06:58 PM

2 Taiwanese snacks: Tai Yang Bing 太陽饼 , and Wu Xiang Dougan 五香豆干

Today was a good day for this native Taiwanese : I walked into Hong Kong Market in NYC and saw the famous Tai Yang Bing (Sun Pastry?) in the familiar but for me "long-time-no-see" boxes of 6 on the shelf. Then in another isle I saw something I've been craving for 30 years. (warning, you won't like it unless you grew up with it!) It's the five-spice bean curd, extra hard, 10 mini packs (4 squares per) in one long package.

At home I had the Tai Yan Bing. In Taiwan people break one of this apart and dunk into milk, like how morning cereals here. If eaten alone, one needs a cup of hot tea or coffee, otherwise it's a bit dry. Though it's very flaky and with a thin layer of maltose in the middle. This brand is the original. Even though it's not as fresh as if you eat it in Taiwan, the quality is still better than ones made in the States. Probably due to native ingredients used.

The dougan is good as tea or beer snack. It's chewy and savory, though could be "leathery" if one didn't grow up eating it.

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  1. When I was a kid, my grandmother used to put a Tai Yang Bing in a big soup bowl, then pour hot water over it , let it soak for a bit, and then serve it to me for an after school snack. Gosh, I miss being a child.

    1. The brand and box pictured of the Tai Yang Bing (from Taichung) is the best one I've had to date. My local Chinese supermarket gets them in rarely. I didn't know about the dunking, and just eat it straight.

      Another delightful flakey and crunchy TW cookie is 桃酥 (tao su), even more rare than TYB box in my area.

      Not a huge fan of dougan snacks, I prefer them as a side dish or stir fried with pork and leek (Shanghainese style) or paired with Taiwanese simmered/marinated appetizers.

      3 Replies
      1. re: K K

        Ipsedixit, you're right, it was hot water, not milk that we use to make it hot breakfast cereal. oh, and it's never too late to be a child again....

        K K, I'm attaching the photo of the dougan snack, as opposed to the ones we cook with. I think the snack type vs the cooking type is sort of like, say, the deli roast beef vs beef jerky. So, the snack type is a LOT chewier, like a beef jerky, which may be hard to eat, BUT, it's portable and no refrigerating necessary...sort of a savory energy bar for me.

        "...The brand and box pictured of the Tai Yang Bing (from Taichung) is the best one I've had to date. ..." Yes, the original one is delicious. When you open the package, there's a note on the plastic bag that covers the 6 packs, and big writing over it advising to Eat it all up within 7 days of opening. I'm just glad to have spotted it this time. Who knows how often and when they have it in the stores!

        1. re: HLing

          I can't imagine ever stir-frying dou-gan. That's be sort of like BBQ-ing beef jerky.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            The dried bean curds similar to what's called baked tofu here in the US are used for cooking. If someone just said Dou Gan, it could be the baked tofu type, or the snack (uncookable) type.

      2. Tai Yang Bing from Taichung....really? Wow. Is the Hong Kong Market in NYC you mention, the same chain that has branches in Boston? Or, maybe a better way to put it, which Hong Kong Market in NYC?

        1 Reply
        1. re: qianning

          Went to one of the quasi (long story why this qualifier, see Boston board for details) Hong Kong Markets in Boston this weekend, definitely no Taiyang Bing. Alas.

        2. Oh boy! Checking for the tai yang bing this weekend. Fond memories of a stopover in Taichung on the way to the yearly festival in Beigang...Noticed recently that the Wei-Chuan Chinese Snacks (hardcover) has a recipe and was thinking of giving it a whirl.

          6 Replies
          1. re: buttertart

            I used to have to make them at my parent's restaurant. I don't know what I detested more, making Tai Yang Bing or Mooncakes. Ugh.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Hobby baking's more fun than pro baking - I've also done the latter.

              1. re: buttertart

                It's the smell that really got to me.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Smell of what? You can entertain thoughts of hot dog water and not stand the smell of things baking?

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    The festival in Beigang. Not to be missed if you can get there.

            2. No taiyang bing at HK Supermarket in Manh Chinatown yesterday. I've seen some locally-made ones at the Great Wall on Northern Blvd in Flushing in the past.

              3 Replies
              1. re: buttertart

                Sorry to not have seen the queries from this post until now. The Hong Kong market where I got the Tai Yang Bing in Manhattan is the one at 157 Hester between Bowery and Elizabeth, in the basement section. I've not been there in the last few months. I think they get bought out rather quickly. Good luck all!

                1. re: buttertart

                  I think Hong Kong market must have just gotten a new shipment today. I found both the Tai Yang Bing 太陽饼 ("sun cake", $4.49) and the Dougan in the basement section, aisle B4.

                  Also tried two varieties of candied pomelo peels, (pictured) one with honey. Both quite good. I think pomelo skin (and the white flesh just under the skin) is becoming more available. Either that or just because last year this time when I was in Hong Kong (not the market ;) ) I had the unusual, and difficult-to-prepare, but oh-so-good-for-you dish of poached pomelo flesh (of the skin) with shrimp roe, and have since seek out more food made with it..

                  1. re: HLing

                    That dish sounds wonderful. Must have a look for all of these -- and thanks for the aisle info!