From the whimsical to the bizarre, the world is full of interesting confections that you can check out once travel is on the cards again. But if you can’t wait, we offer alternative methods of obtaining some of these snacks.
Not quite an egg
Japan is big on desserts that pair well with a cup of green tea. Japanese snacks also make for good souvenirs to bring home a bit of Japan to share with friends and family. If you visit the Tohoku region, notably Iwate prefecture, you must try Kamome no Tamago. Literally translated as ‘seagull’s egg’, this confectionery looks like an egg with a white chocolate shell. Beneath the shell lies a thin layer of sponge wrapped around a creamy sticky ball of sweetened white bean paste. It has been enjoyed since it was introduced about 60 years ago, with newer versions such as banana flavour and chocolate-filled ones constantly being created. You can purchase these snacks from Easygo Japan*, which ships to Singapore. They are currently closed till 30 September 2020.
Changing scenes with each slice
Introduced in 2017, Nagatoya Chocolate’s Fly Me To The Moon jelly treat deserves a mention for being utterly adorable. The jelly block features an opaque sweet bean paste jelly base, a clear jelly centre where a bird and a moon take centre stage, and a fruit-and-nut top jelly layer. The real magic happens when you slice into it and each slice reveals a different scene that shows a bird unfurling its wings and flying towards the moon.
Burnt cheesecake of Odisha
Move aside Basque Burnt Cheesecake, Chhenapoda is what everyone loves in the state of Odisha. Chhenameans ‘cottage cheese’ and poda means ‘burnt’. Touted as the favourite dessert of the deity Lord Jagganath, Chhenapoda is a cottage cheese dessert that is crisp on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. It is made by kneading cottage cheese with sugar, dried fruits and nuts. It is then topped with dark caramelised sugar and baked till it turns golden brown.
Have fun making this dessert at home with this popular online recipe: https://www.archanaskitchen.com/chenna-poda-recipe
Perfume candy, anyone?
With a century-long legacy, musk sticks make for a candy that has lasting appeal. The pink cylinders, which are made of gelatine and icing sugar, have a distinctive musk-like essence that is often described as being like a strong cologne. The candy is said to dissolve slowly and tastes weird, but if Woolworths sells 24 million musk sticks a year, it must be addictive in its own way.
Curious to try? Order a pack from Spotlight Singapore’s online store: https://www.spotlightstores.com/sg
A surprising chicken dessert
Most people wouldn’t associate chicken breast meat with dessert, but it is a key ingredient in Tavuk göğsü, a milk pudding popular in Turkey. The chicken is ground to a fine paste and mixed with other ingredients such as milk, sugar and thickeners to create a signature dessert that is sweet and rich, with a creamy and uniquely stringy texture. You probably wouldn’t even realise there is meat in it unless you actually know that the name is Turkish for ‘chicken breast’.
If you love exploring Asian street food markets, you may have come across honey vendors selling what looks like oddly shaped corn-on-the-cob wrapped in a banana leaf. These are chunks of wild honeycomb containing bee larvae known as hang peung. Often grilled over hot coals till the honey becomes warm and oozes out of the holes, this snack has been described as surprisingly ‘juicy, sweet and nutty’ like ‘fatty honey’.
As international travel is still restricted due to COVID-19, there is practically no chance for you to purchase these delightful desserts in person. Perhaps you could mitigate your sweet cravings with something available right here in the Lion City. Sinpopo Brand runs three outlets (Sinpopo Restaurant along Joo Chiat Road; Sinpopo Coffee inside Funan Mall, and Sinpopo Grocer inside the Paragon) that offer retro décor and flavours. When it comes to cakes, it serves flavours such as ondeh ondeh (glutinous rice balls coloured green with pandan extract, filled with melted palm sugar, and coated with desiccated coconut) and pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge served with coconut milk), which are traditional Malay/Nonya desserts in themselves.