Looks like Taiwan’s young male escort service isn’t the only thing mainland tourists are helping keep afloat. Waves of mainland tourists are reportedly also causing a boom in the Taiwanese pineapple cake industry, due to their preference for these pineapple paste-stuffed pastries as gifts:
According to Su Mao-shiang, an official with the island’s agricultural authority, the planting area of pineapples has increased to 9,900 hectares with an annual production of more than 400,000 tonnes, of which 6 percent are pineapples of local species that are mostly processed into stuffing, juice and jam.
A popular pineapple cake maker Sunny Hills, established in 2009, uses local pineapples as its stuffing in the cake, becoming one of the most popular brands on the Chinese mainland.
Su said that the wholesale price of no. 17 Taiwan pineapple or “diamond pineapple,” whose production takes 85 percent of the total on the island, has increased by 40 percent in the last four years.
What makes these sweet treats so appealing? According to Food Culture in Taiwan:
Pineapple cakes’ success is connected to their special characteristics. First of all, they keep well and are easy to carry. Not especially sweet or moist, they can remain fresh for 15 days without preservatives. “And they’re not crumbly either, so you don’t have to worry that they’ll fall apart if you bump into something,” notes Chang Kuo-rong, chairman of the Taipei Bakery Association. Next, since pineapple cakes are mostly bought as gifts for friends and family, flavor and price are top considerations.
This increase in demand for Taiwanese pineapple cakes can be partially-attributed to Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation of the Philippines, another major pineapple hub.
[Image via suziesweettooth.com]