I have been to the northern tip of China (and the surrounding areas) and Guangzhou. The food I mention may be common throughout China or it may regional. I would not know.
Ever since I saw Orion Pies in the supermarket, which my students swore were not cookies, but rather pies, “Can’t you read, Teacher?”, I have wanted to spotlight the different sweets I have come across in Guangzhou, specifically Huadu.
Of the eleven districts which make up Guangzhou, I am to understand that Huadu is rather rural.
I wanted a slice of cake.
That simple sentiment dragged me out of my apartment during the middle of a typhoon (Linfa had stopped crying over Huadu for about an hour). I knew there were a number of pastry shops throughout Huadu’s commercial streets. Each slice (and by slice I mean bite) of cake costs around 5 RMB to 7 RMB (around a dollar or a plate of eight dumplings), so I had restrained myself for quite some time.
I found one store rather easily. I had passed it a dozen times, often peaking inside to see what (scarce) assortment of treats they had to display. Unfortunately, the day was old, and what I would have been willing to pay 7 RMB for was no longer available.
I wandered Huadu for probably two hours, entering probably a dozen pastry shops (all were of the same brand, though the name escapes me). No luck. I did notice in my search, however, how unusual it was for a man to enter these stores. Without fail, every time I found a new pastry shop, there were either children or a gaggle of girls within. I actually began to feel a little self conscious over entering these establishments towards the end of my trek.
“Look at that big American, sharing the same palate as high school girls and rugrats.”
In the end, I gave up and, returning home, stopped inside a different kind of bakery. It was someones home, and the family had just thrown a display rack near the entrance. The selection was scarce, but I went ahead and bought the cheapest, largest item they had.
They are tasty. The ones I bought came in a plastic bag of eight for 2 RMB. They seem to be coated in confectioners sugar, giving them a mild sweetness. While extremely light, almost like cotton candy on a stick, when they moisten in your mouth they seem to triple in weight and become rather filling.
I wouldn’t call them cookies despite the shape. They taste more like bread or cake. Possibly a doughnut. While I was worried about a mess (I have already slaughtered three cockroaches since my arrival on the 26th), there were no crumbs to speak of. They are not at all brittle.
While not the most delicious sweet I have devoured in recent weeks, given their paltry price of 2 RMB for eight, I will certainly begin to stockpile these scrumptious ‘ittle treats when the next typhoon blows through.