This is my third (3rd) of eight blogs on Factory tours of the New Taipei City area. We were escorted on a bus by K. G. L. AD. Media Agency International Company’s associate’s, Director Kelin Chen, and Account Executive, Ann Li. To my utter delight, it is also home to the famous “Egg Pudding” sold in Taiwan, and shipped inside real chicken egg shells. We'll talk a lot more about the: How Sweet Bakery, Happiness Castle Tourism Factory
Ok you might ponder and ask….shipped inside a real egg shell???? When I was first told about this on an earlier trip to Taiwan in February 2012, I said to my friend, how can that be? Egg shells are too fragile, and it seems it might be near impossible to put a pudding inside the shell. I have seen chicken eggs that have a “pin hole” and the egg yolk and white is literally “sucked”/evacuated from the shell leaving the shell hollow. I just had to see this product.
|Now that's what happens when you open an egg shell !!!!!!!!!!|
We took a taxi to a nearby How Sweet Bakery in Taipei to buy some of these Egg Puddings. Sure enough, there are pictures in the store of these eggshells with an end cut off, full of egg custard/pudding. Now this is a cool product I thought, and wondered why no one has done this before?
Well as an old American idiom says…… “the proof is in the pudding”. I just had to buy a box and eat one there on the spot.
To my utter delight, is this custard, or pudding or something else? Anyway, it is wonderful and delicious to eat. It is smooth, creamy, full of egg flavor, but as you dig to the bottom, you see dark brown spots and there is a burst of very, very vanilla flavor. The young girl that sold me the box told me it was fresh ground Madagascar vanilla beans ground up and added to every egg. I quickly ate another, and purchased a box of 9 egg puddings to go!
I truly love Chinese egg custards and egg custard creams in their fresh baked buns. I love even more delicious egg flan, and eggnog, and crème brulee. I even bake a killer egg custard pie myself for my wife and I to enjoy during the holidays. But this Egg Pudding is right up there at the top of taste, flavor and enjoyment. The only problem is that there just isn’t enough in a small chicken egg shell to satisfy my sweet tooth, and egg appetite.
I wonder if they are thinking about putting their excellent egg puddings in an Ostrich egg shell. Now that is more like it!
|Fill it up with Egg Pudding and I will be one VERY Happy Blogger !!! - Image Courtesy of Wikipedia|
How Sweet’s Egg Pudding
We arrived at the How Sweet Bakery Happiness Castle Tourism Factory in the Wugu District of New Taipei City just before lunch time and was met by Mr. Jeffrey Chen, Sales Assistant Vice President and his staff. We entered the main lobby and began out tour.
|Main Lobby area near Entrance|
|Just inside the Main Entrance|
|The Tour Begins with Mr. Jeffrey Chen|
We started to tour with an introduction of the Egg Pudding. In a corridor of the main lobby, we saw several display cases along the wall and Jeffrey gave us an enthusiastic presentation on the product during the early stages and the success today that How Sweet enjoys with this great product.
|Display Case in Main Lobby Corridor|
I was right. Early on, they had a real challenge cutting off one end of an egg shell without cracking or damaging the shell. We saw examples of this.
|Egg shells can be easily BROKEN|
The company asked people from Japan and Germany to look at this process and develop a machine that could cut these eggs to near perfection with minimal loss. We later saw a video and watched this fascinating machine and the Egg Pudding manufacturing process.
|Incoming Eggs to be opened|
|Loading the cutting machine|
|Close Up of an Egg being opened by machine|
|Cleaning the Egg Shells after opening|
|On to the filling process|
Me moved to room upstairs, and were seated in a conference/DIY room. Jeffery passed around boxes of the Egg pudding and a pineapple cakes so everyone had at least one of each to enjoy.
|Yummy! We are going to eat these Egg Puddings!|
|I want THAT ONE!|
|Egg Pudding and Pineapple Cake for everyone. DIY Sample|
|First Bite and look at that dark Vanilla bean inside|
Mr. Jeffrey Chen then gave us a detailed presentation on the How Sweet company and its’ main products of baked breads, pineapple cakes, and Egg Pudding. (During the presentation, I just had to sneak up to the front and get another egg pudding for myself. Others in our group did the same until all egg puddings were gone!)
I learned the following information about How Sweet Bakery and its famous Egg Pudding.
The product has been sold for about three plus (3+) years. During that time, they have sold over 42 million egg puddings! That’s an average of ~13 million egg puddings per year. OMG! Those poor chickens! Where do they get so many eggs? Jeffrey told me they contract out the egg production to various large chicken farmers in Taiwan. They actually use a domestic Taiwan chicken to produce the eggs and the eggs are only harvested from hens that are from ~350 days old to ~500 days old. Jeffery commented eggs from older and younger hens produce eggs with inferior or inconsistent quality egg shells. Only eggs with diameters of approximately 4.0 to 4.5 cm are selected and used by How Sweet. I also found out that there is another company in Taiwan making a similar product and also putting it in an egg shell. However, they only use a vanilla extract for flavor and not ground up real Madagascar Vanilla Beans.
|Madagascar Vanilla Bean - Photo courtesy of Wikipedia|
|Actual Vanilla Beans used by How Sweet|
Now the secret, what about the vanilla beans. these beans grow typically about 5 inches to 8 inches long. In the USA, if you buy these whole beans at a specialty store, you can pay $20.00 US or more for a pack of 4 to 5 beans (about 5" long").
Well here is a trivia question for my readers….. What tree do vanilla beans grow on in Madagascar?
|Natural Vanilla Bean on Tree - Courtesy of plantogram.com|
Surprise! News Flash! Wake up and Smell the Roses (orchids)! Vanilla beans come from an orchid, not from a tree! In the above photo, the orchid plant is climbing the trunk of small tree.
I guess I learned something from my research.
How about another trivia question…. When Madagascar gained independence from France in 1960, what was the name of the country? (Answer: Malagasy Republic). So why do people still call the country Madagascar? (Answer: In the turbulent 1970’s, leadership changed several times quickly and in 1975, the new regime renamed the country the Republic of Madagascar).
|Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia|
Now back to Vanilla beans...... There are three major varieties of Vanilla Orchid grown to harvest vanilla beans.
|"Vanilla planifolia" Orchid - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia|
The most popular is the Bourbon Vanilla which was named after the former name of the island country of Reunion, “Île Bourbon”. This main species which is harvested for vanilla is Vanilla planifolia. Although it is native to Mexico, it is now widely grown throughout the tropics. Madagascar is the world's largest producer of this variety. Other island locations that grow this wonderful Orchid in the region off the South Eastern coast of Africa are small countries such as: Comoros Islands, Reunion Island, Mauritius, and others.
How Sweet’s Pineapple Cake
OK, next was the tour and discussion of “How Sweet’s” pineapple cake. These cakes are produced by very many bakeries in Asia.
|Jeffrey Chen talks Pineapples!!!|
Now for those of you that are not familiar with pineapples, here are some pictures of how pineapples are grown. The State of Hawaii is a major pineapple producing state!
|One of How Sweets Pineapple Plants outside the DIY Room|
|A Pineapple starts like this - Photo courtesy of Wikipedia|
|A Young Pineapple fruit on the parent plant|
|The Pineapple Tour|
|Along the Pineapple Tour for the kids!|
Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes are a wonderful little desert perfect for Tea Time Brunch, snacks, etc. The size is approximately 1” x 2” x ½” (this is my guess and I did not measure it). The cake dough can vary from very soft and “crumbly” to firm and more chewy. Inside is usually a very small amount of actual pineapple, and more of a pineapple flavored jelly. By the way, I have yet to find a pineapple cake I did not enjoy!
The “How Sweet” pineapple cake has a near perfect outer cake, almost like a delicious soft pie crust that does not crumble. But inside, what a nice surprise! It is simply loaded with juicy chunks of pineapple with a nice zesty filling. Maybe not the very best I have ever eaten, but up near the top for quality, taste and eating enjoyment.
|Our Pineapple Cakes ..... Full of Pineapple & Simply Delicious!|
We did get a chance to see some of the manufacturing area through windows in one corridor, and How Sweet also maintains a strict quality control of their product with clean air showers and clean room garments for their employees in the production areas.
|An Employee in the Clean Air Shower heading for work!|
|Pineapple Cake Production Line|
|Pineapple Cake Production Line|
|Pineapple Cake Production Line|
After the tour, we went downstairs near the main entrance where they sell their products to visitors. They also have a very comfortable restaurant where they can handle small groups of 2 to 4 people, or larger tours of 20+. They even have a small area near the windows with comfortable chairs to use your iPad or laptop and enjoy a nice cup of coffee with their desert. I certainly enjoyed their seafood pasta.
|Part of our Tour Group Ready for Lunch|
Overall, a very nice tour, with a company that makes delicious baked products. Definitely a place to visit when you are in the area. Here is how you can contact How Sweet’s Factory Tour Museum.
|Bye for Now - Thanks for a great tour and the DIY Samples!!!|
How Sweet Bakery
Happiness Castle Tourism Factory
5F., No. 24, Wugong 6th Road, Wugu District,
New Taipei City, 248, Taiwan (ROC)
TEL: (02) 2290-0808
FAX: (02) 2298-8666