Ice Cream Factory Hokkaido, Japan

Eating Ice Cream

The thing I like about Japan is that most of their shops, regardless of whether they sell ramen or omurice, have a running popularity board. This allows the shops to display which item is #1 selling on their menu and the customers to know what the place is known for. We saw this Ice Cream Factory in Sapporo after buying toys for the kids and since my better half loves the ice cream in Hokkaido, we got a couple of cones to eat.

Ice Cream Factory

Ice Cream Factory is one of those cold plate/stone places e.g. your ice cream and condiments is mixed in sub zero temperatures before being served to you, in this case -30 Celsius. My dear wanted to get a simple swirl ice cream and I did pause to wonder why she’s ordering something that’s not their specialty but I know she just wants to save money. I did order their #1 bestseller though. Haha. I thought it’ll be nice to order an ice cream that’s mixed on the cold slab instead of just served.

Ice Cream Mix

Come to think of it, the wait staff have to put up with a lot nowadays. There are a lot of people taking photos of them working, and expecting them to serve up a picture perfect dish to boot. I can’t imagine being a waiter nowadays, although fun fact, I was one for a few months when I first went to Melbourne for my college.

Sapporo Ice Cream

My order is their Sweet Berries which came with an assorted local cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, redcurrants and blueberries mixed together with strawberry and vanilla ice cream. I love the use of winter berries and the cold stone places do it well coz the ice cream doesn’t melt on the super chilled slab, but incorporate tighter instead. It’s as if a machine made it in factory with the berries intact.

Sweet Berries

Sweet Berries is 750 yen (about RM 30) which is what you’ll expect to pay locally for an ice cream of this size and magnitude too. I love the creamy ice cream and the best part is that it’s not very sweet. The berries contrast nicely by giving off an acidic burst too. The crunchy cone is also fresh and nice and there’s a spoon to eat everything with.

Mix Ice Cream

My dear got the more pedestrian Mix Ice Cream (chocolate and vanilla swirl) for 230 JPY (about RM 10) which came out of a machine instead of being mixed like mine. Good stuff! We also bought a lot of random stuff in addition to toys for the kids. I went to the gachapon machines a few times and devoured the Love Live merchandise they had at Japan Post and my dear got some Doreamon stuff too since the movie came out at the time we were in Hokkaido.

LeTAO (ルタオ) Double Fromage Cheesecake in Otaru, Hokkaido

LeTAO Cheesecake

LeTAO (ルタオ) is a famous bakery, café and sweet shop with branches all over Hokkaido. We saw one in New Chitose Airport when we landed in Sapporo and again when we went shopping in Daimaru but my better half wanted to eat at their head store in Otaru. Otaru is a quaint little town where they have a huge presence – it’s where their HQ is, as well as their chocolate shop (called LeTao le chocolat) and lab (LeTAO Cheese CakeLab).


There are at least six (6) different LeTAO shops in Otaru, all selling something unique. We saw one in Otaru Station when we arrived which is called Ekimo LeTAO and they sell roll cakes in addition to their regular product lines. My dear wanted to check out their sit-down café though so we walked over 30 minutes in search for LeTAO PATHOS – their largest store and café in Hokkaido.

LeTAO Otaru

LeTAO actually pioneered the “Japanese Cotton Cheesecake” craze. This is a soufflé-like cheese cake with a distinctive look. However, LeTAO doesn’t call it that themselves (no one in Japan does). It’s called the Double Fromage by LeTAO and it’s one of their most famous products. LeTAO also has a presence in Thailand but if you want to eat the real thing made with Hokkaido dairy, you better get your ass down to Otaru…and that’s what we did.

LeTAO Menu

The café at LeTAO PATHOS is huge and you’ll be escorted to your seat by a nice Japanese girl who’ll take your order while kneeling down (!!!). This really surprised me and made me a little uncomfortable. However, it’s part of the renowned Japanese approach to service and they even make a point of stating that their tea is not ready made – it’s only brewed each time there’s an order so it’ll take a while for drinks to arrive.

Double Plate with a drink (1,404 JPY or RM 58)

LeTAO Cafe Double Plate

This is all of LeTAO’s favorites on a plate! It contains two of their most popular cheese cakes – Double Fromage and Chocolate Double together with a crème brulee tart called Venezia Rendezvous. I have no idea why this is called a “Double Plate” when it contains 3 items but I suspect the Japanese words mean something entirely different.

LeTAO Double Fromage

I really enjoyed LeTAO’s Double Fromage. It’s made with three (3) different cheeses – Italian mascarpone, Camembert and cream cheese. All the cheeses used here are produced in Hokkaido from a local dairy. The upper layer is a creamy and smooth no-bake cheesecake and the lower layer is rich and tasty baked cheesecake. Insanely good stuff…

LeTAO Venezia Rendezvous

The Venezia Rendezvous is a mascarpone crème brulee made using mascarpone from Lombardy, Italy. The cheese is added to LeTao’s original fresh cream in Hokkaido and flavored with natural vanilla beans from Madagascar. The light and crispy tart provides a nice texture to the 42% milk fat cream used in the filling and the natural sugar beets grown in Hokkaido. The dessert is not sweet at all, the only sugar used is from the locally grown sugar beets.

LeTAO Chocolate Double

The Chocolat Double is the chocolate version of their bestselling Double Fromage. They combined the cheese cake with a chocolate cake to produce a two-layered chocolate cheesecake. The cocoa is from Europe but all other items are local and the bitterness of the cocoa makes the cheesecake more suitable for adults. It cuts down the mildly sweet Double Fromage with some bitterness to produce a slightly bitter dessert.

Strawberry Mille-feuille with a drink (1,816 JPY or around RM 72)

Strawberry Mille-feuille

This beautiful dessert can only be ordered in LeTAO’s café. It’s made with LeTAO’s original custard and Hokkaido grown strawberries for a towering treat that looks almost too good to eat. My dear saw this highlighted in their menu and didn’t want to order it coz it was over RM 70 for a plate of pastry. We had just eaten sushi at the 1 Michelin Star Isezushi so this was primarily a dessert run but I insisted on ordering it coz I knew she wanted to try it.

LeTAO Strawberry Mille-feuille

The custard was very good – it was speckled with real vanilla beans from Madagascar and there are superbly tart red currants strewn throughout the plate. However, I thought the crispy sheets of pastry was slightly over-done and bitter. Granted, desserts in Japan are an order of magnitude less sweet than Western or local counterparts but we’ve had really good mille-feuille from 2 Michelin Star Le Relais LOUIS VIII in Paris, France so it can’t really measure up to that (especially when the mille-feuille was the star dessert that got them their two Michelin stars in the first place).

LeTAO Hokkaido

LeTAO is a great place to visit if you want to have a luxurious and warm sit-down dessert in Otaru. The café in LeTAO PATHOS also serves savory food like pasta – it’s the only one that does that so it’s something to think about if you’re heading here instead of the main store. It’s also larger than the head store or LeTAO Plus. The bill came up to 3,220 JPY (about RM 130) for the two of us, including drinks and the service was excellent. I would highly recommend eating at LeTAO if you’re ever in Otaru – after all, this was where LeTAO was born.

Huge 8-flavor ice cream from Otaru, Hokkaido

Otaru Ice Cream

This is the biggest ice cream cone I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating! Hokkaido is the dairy capital of Japan and they produce extraordinarily creamy milk. There are many ice cream parlors in Otaru and this is our second or third one of the day. My better half told me about this ridiculously luxurious creation and we went searching for it.

Otaru Ice Cream Parlor

It’s located at a really obscure heated inner pathway so it took us a while to find it. I had to ask a couple of restaurants before I saw the signs.

Japan Ice Cream

The 8-flavor ice cream is their best-seller and costs 580 JPY (about RM 23).

How To Hold

They even have instructions on how to hold it. smirk This is probably so little children (and the young-at-heart) won’t attempt to hold the bottom of a cone (like how you’ll hold a regular ice cream) coz the top is way too heavy. You have to wrap your fingers around the base of the cone so it won’t topple over from sheer inertia.

8 Flavor Ice Cream

The 8 flavors are (from bottom) matcha green tea, Yubari King melon, lavender, strawberry, milk, chocolate, grape, and Ramune. Ramune is a popular drink in Japan. I like the refreshing Yubari melon and grape too, they work very well with the sweeter chocolate and milk (one of the best flavors). The cone itself is quite salty, something unique that we noticed in Japan. All the ice cream cones in Hokkaido are slightly salty, which balances the mildly sweet ice cream well.

Ice Cream

The best part is that Japanese soft serve ice cream isn’t shockingly sweet, it’s just mildly appealing. It was winter when we were in Otaru and the snow covered paths didn’t make it conducive towards eating ice cream. However, despite the fact that we were actually quite cold and the weather was around -11 Celsius, the 8-flavor ice cream was really good! :)

Tanoshii Dezato – Japanese Taiyaki (Fish Cake) Ice Cream

Tanoshii Dezato

Tanoshii means enjoy, so this ice cream cafe literally means Enjoy Dessert in Japanese,” I proudly declared to my better half. It seems that my years of watching anime during college in university had paid off at last. smirk I could only piece together the two words, hardly enough for our trip to Hokkaido in a month’s time but sufficient for our dessert pit stop.

Tanoshi Dezato

We had come across Tanoshii Dezato in Tropicana City Mall, which offers the intriguing creation of a taiyaki (baked sea bream – the Japanese style fish cake) filled with custard, topped with ice cream and a fruit.

Custard Taiyaki

The Signature Taiyaki costs RM 12.80 and you can customize it with a stuffing, ice cream flavor and fruit of your choice. There’s everything from red bean to chocolate for the filling and several ice cream flavors in addition to peach, kiwi, strawberry and banana as the fruit option.

Freshly Made Taiyaki

The interesting thing at Tanoshii Dezato is that the taiyaki is freshly baked on the spot! This mean it’ll be crunchy and warm and we were looking forward to eating the unusual Japanese themed ice cream “cone”.


The woman manning the counter had two small fans to cool the taiyaki cone so the ice cream won’t melt when it’s inserted. The custard is baked inside the fish cake (see previous pic) and the fruits are all fresh!

Taiyaki Ice Cream

We went for a custard filled taiyaki with matcha ice cream and fresh peach. It tasted wonderful! The taiyaki is stuffed with the custard filling so there’s something for you to eat with the “cone” and the ice cream goes into the taiyaki cone too. I like how the fruits are fresh instead of canned.

Black Sesame IceCream

My dear also wanted another scoop of black sesame ice cream by itself. The ice cream costs RM 7 per scoop if you want it a la carte. Tanoshii Dezato also sells taiyaki by itself for RM 9.90 but the combo of the two with fruits just cost RM 12.80 so that’s the better option unless you’re too full to eat the taiyaki.

Signature Taiyaki

Tanoshii Dezato just started serving soft-serve ice cream. The signature taiyaki ice cream dessert with the soft-serve ice cream will be only RM 10.80. I asked why that was cheaper and the friendly lady there told us that it’s coz the soft-serve ice cream is made in-house while the other ice cream is imported from Japan so it’s RM 12.80. It’s worth a trip if you’re into new and unusual ice cream concepts.

Mid-Autumn 2015 Mooncake Roundup (Taiwan Special): Pork Floss Mooncakes, Walnut & Medjool Dates Mooncakes, Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

Walnut Date Mooncake

The majority of mooncakes here are from Taiwan. I was there before the Mid-Autumn Festival and bought all my mooncakes from I-Mei’s flagship shop in the middle of Taipei.

Mooncakes 2015

They’re mostly Taiwanese style mooncakes with flaky pastry shell but there are some of the classic mooncakes too, however all of them are made in Taiwan unless stated otherwise.

I Mei Taiwan

I had actually planned to get all the mooncakes from Taiwan. I thought it’ll be nice to give out mooncakes from Taiwan – it seemed like the ultimate souvenir, although I did buy other gifts too. It was a very busy trip and I couldn’t find time to get out, until my very last day, when Diana took me out at 10 am in the morning to a shop that sells mooncakes.


You can get mooncakes at 7-Eleven and the airport but for the former, you have to order in advance and the latter are commercialized stuff and I’ll rather go for a local producer and this place fit the bill perfectly!

Packing Mooncakes

The friendly people there even helped me pack everything and explained what each mooncake was (granted, I spent quite a lot) so that was good, considering I don’t read Chinese.

Pork Floss with Mung Bean Taiwanese Mooncakes (NTD 630)

Taiwanese Savory Mooncake

This is really good! I would give this Best of 2015 due to its unusual savory-sweet mix. I love how the pork floss interacts with the sweet mung bean paste and I really enjoyed eating this gem. I had specifically gone looking for a savory mooncake after hearing about it from Diana (our Taiwanese liaison).

Pork Floss Taiwanese Mooncakes

I was slightly taken aback when she asked me if I was looking for sweet or savory mooncakes. “Savory mooncakes? Whatever do you mean?” I asked. It turns out that pork floss mooncakes have been around for a while and the award winning combination with mung bean and the Taiwanese pastry skin is quite common here.

Pork Floss Mooncakes

This box cost NTD 630 (about RM 85).

I-Mei Specialty Mooncake Selection 2015 with Premium Gift Box (NTD 750)

Taipei Mooncakes

I got this one for my better half. It has a nice painting on the front of the box showing the exact street where I bought this mooncake from in the early days. I-Mei has been around since 1934 and they came out with a commemoration box where they commissioned someone to paint the street scene of their flagship store in Taipei where I went to.

Imei Mooncakes

This has a mixture of Taiwanese style mooncakes, Hong Kong style mooncakes and a selection of Taiwanese pastries (pineapple cake etc). It also has a wonderful Taiwanese mooncake flavor – dates and walnuts! It also appears in the previous box above (I think) as well as the one below (in the Hong Kong skin) and it’s a wonderful flavor!

I Mei Hong Kong Style Mooncakes (NTD 900)

Hong Kong Mooncakes

This is the most expensive selection in their shop and I got in for my dear’s parents. It’s all Hong Kong style baked skin mooncakes but they’re all made in Taiwan. There’s a HUGE mooncake (200 grams) in the middle which has a pineapple filling as a tribute to its Taiwanese heritage but the others come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, walnut and Medjool dates.

Pineapple Mooncakes

I got to taste the pineapple filling and it was really good.

Pineapple Mooncake

I thought the walnut and date filling is really awesome too (but no one else did). In fact, I’ll say the single yolk date filling Taiwanese mooncake is my second favorite this year.

Medjool Dates Mooncake

I also choose a very interesting pack which had dried scallops and XO in a mooncake but for some reason it wasn’t packed and I wasn’t charged for it. I suspect this happened when we switched from a longer box to a flatter one and before it was tabulated and sealed so I didn’t realize it. Oh well.

Teochew Pure Green Bean Mooncake (RM 9.50)

Teochew Mooncake

This lard filled mooncake is from Setapak Teochew Restaurant. It’s been around since 1912 and they’re using their time-tested recipe. It’s a lot of lard (can smell it as soon as you open it) and decidedly (and proudly?) non-halal and there’s a certain charm to old school mooncakes like this, much like the Foochow mooncakes.

Teochew Lard Mooncake

It’s quite good, although the lard smell/taste is a bit overwhelming and the filling is a little too sweet for today’s standards.

Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes (RM 95)

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes 2015

My better half got this for me. She knows I love mooncakes (especially unusual ones) and thus brought this home one day. It’s the Petite Collection which contains 5 hand-crafted ice cream mooncakes. Each set has:

  • White Chocolate Mooncake with Mango Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream
  • Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream

Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

The first one is the best and the “rarest” e.g. each mooncake configuration will have 1:2:2 ratio with the White Chocolate with Mango Ice Cream being the smallest number. Their Deluxe Collection also has the same kind of ice cream mooncakes, but with 2:3:3 respectively.

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes

The Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream is very refreshing too but my dear liked the Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream, which tasted like the Mother’s Day ice cream cake from Haagen-Dazs I got earlier this year. This is also the same mooncake we featured in TumblingMinis. :D

Taiwan Mooncakes

Like I said, most of the mooncakes this year were purchased during my trip to Taiwan and are made in Taiwan. We both thought that the Taiwanese style pastry mooncakes were much better than their attempts to make a baked skin mooncake. I loved the pork floss with mung bean mooncake and the walnut and date mooncakes came in a close second.

MiniMelts tiny ice cream spheres @ Jaya Shopping Centre

MiniMelts Ice Cream

We were at a mall over the weekend when we passed by this stall. The banner doesn’t exactly inspire confidence – it has a glaring typo of Seoul, Korea. I tried searching for Mini Melts on my phone but it didn’t have any ties to South Korea at all! This seems to be an obvious ploy to buy into the Korea-mania sweeping certain demographics in Malaysia right now.

MiniMelts Malaysia

As far as I can tell, MiniMelts is a US company, much like Dippin’ Dots. They make cryogenically frozen ice cream, which is a fancy way to say liquid nitrogen ice cream. However, this is a slightly different implementation than most LN2 places you’ve grown accustomed to (with custom mixes and all that). Mini Melts offers a classic range of ice cream flavors, served the regular way, except they’re in tiny spheres.


There are actually two options – MiniMelts and MiniMelts BIG. The latter is about eight times the size of the former – think of it as a marble. The regular MiniMelts are more like the tiny spheres you see in desiccant packets.

MiniMelts Menu

I asked my better half what she wanted and we decided to get a Banana Split (RM 7.90) to share. This is supposed to taste like a banana split and has different spheres of banana flavored ice cream, strawberry flavored ice cream, chocolate flavored ice cream etc.

Mini Melts

My dear didn’t like the taste at all while I was pretty ambivalent about it. It has a rather interesting texture (all those small balls rolling inside your mouth) but there’s something inherently unsatisfying about the format. Despite claiming “100% butterfat” and “no added air”, you really can’t tell in the tiny spheres.

MiniMelts Banana Split

You don’t get the satisfaction of eating a creamy mouthful of ice cream here, no matter how many MiniMelts spheres you scoop into your mouth. It’s definitely worth a try but I won’t be coming back for seconds.

Milkcow Malaysia, straight from Korea!

Milky Pop

Milkcow is another Korean craze that seems to be taking the nation by storm. It’s like K-pop, everything Korean is in nowadays, and that includes Korean food. Milkcow is a Korean soft serve ice cream chain. The milk is supposed to be 100% from Italy and they only have 1 flavor – which is milk soft serve ice cream. They’re famous for topping it with 100% organic honeycomb from Australia, giving it a healthy twist.

I must say, I do love raw honeycomb.


To be honest, I didn’t know anything about Milkcow until my better half suggested we try it after having lunch at Sunway Pyramid. Milkcow is the undisputed king of soft serve in Korea, the McDonald’s of ice cream. Random fact, I have been to McDonald’s in Korea.

Milkcow Honeycomb

We tried the Milky Pop (RM 11.50) which contains salted caramel syrup and a topping of gourmet popcorn. I asked to see what brand of popcorn they’re using (thinking it was Garrett’s or something). I didn’t recognize the brand but it came in a small tin, about quarter the size of a pint. They import all their ingredients from South Korea.

Milky Cube

We also got the signature Milky Cube (RM 13.50) which is a hybrid of sorts since it has BOTH organic honey and organic honeycomb. I had accidentally ordered Milky Honey which only has liquid honey and wanted the honeycomb. Thus, instead of changing my order, the nice servers just popped a chunk of organic honeycomb on. It was a nice big chunk too, very delicious. I loved it! There was a contest where they were giving out tickets to Avengers and we actually won. Haha.

Milkcow Malaysia

The cotton candy machine was broken that day, or I’ll have loved to try the (decidedly less healthy) Snow Drop (RM 11.50) which has Jelly Beans, salt, and organic cotton candy.

Milkcow Us

Milkcow has seen a lot of copycats like Honey Creme after its success and it’s good to have the authentic one here. I rather enjoyed their signature ice cream with raw honeycomb. It has quality ingredients and I guess its Korean origin helps in marketing, but if you take away all the branding, it’s still an amazing soft serve ice cream with no added sugar and premium organic honeycomb.

I recommend you try it at least once. It’s good.

Birthday Dinner @ Payung Cafe Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu

Don’t you want to go to some other place?” I asked my better half. She’s been eating at the exact same two places last time she was here – Aloha Cafe for lunch and Payung Cafe for dinner, so I suggested Baba & Siam but she really liked the durian ice cream we had last time at Payung Cafe so we ended up here for dinner, three days after we had another huge dinner with my sister and her family (who also loves Payung). smirk

This is my birthday dinner – my dear had flown down from KL to celebrate slightly less than 24 hours with me and we had:

Guava Salad (RM 8)

Guava Salad

This is our starter. Payung Cafe has a range of salads and most of them are great. I especially recommend the Herbs Salad (RM 8) but since it was a hot day, we went for the Guava Salad. It’s a lovely dish of guava with calamansi lime, crushed nuts and other herbs. It’s extremely refreshing!

Mushroom Roll (RM 8)

Mushroom Roll

This is a dish that has gone through many, many recipe tweaks since it was first introduced 8 years ago. I was among the first people in Sibu who first came when Payung Cafe opened in 2008 and spread the word that it was a great al fresco dining place offering the best of South East Asian (and a couple of Western) dishes.

Starfruit Prawns (RM 16)

Starfruit Prawns

I love this stuff – it’s starfruit (carambola) cooked with large prawns. There are three inside and the rest is cut up starfruits and other vegetables. It makes for a good combination. My dad ordered this one.

Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM 19)

Thai Green Curry

My better half’s order – she didn’t even have to think twice. Thai green curry is usually very spicy (at least if you eat the original from Thailand) but this is a much more muted interpretation meant for sensitive local palates.

Otak-Otak Fish (RM 12)

Otak Otak Ikan

This is a Payung Cafe staple that we all ordered to share. It’s homemade and all of their dishes comes with rice (RM 2) and we also wanted to have otak otak so the owners were kind enough to deduct RM 1 from our fourth dish – we ordered four in total for a party of 3 so we didn’t need the extra. It’s usually RM 13.

Sour Chicken (RM 18)

Sour Chicken

This is one of their daily specials. I’ve had the duck version and I like how they use Cambodian spices and herbs to make this dish – it’s quite nice. Payung Cafe also uses chicken legs only in their dishes so you’ll get cuts of drums and thighs.

Mulu Ice Cream (RM 10)

Mulu Ice Cream

We ordered one dessert for each person – this is mine, the ever-changing Mulu Ice Cream. This too has gone through several revisions, it used to be round, then a square slice, then a rectangular slice. It’s not cake – this is a sandwich of two chocolate ice cream layers with muesli in between, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream. I really like this coz of the textural aspects, there’s muesli sprinkled on top too.

Durian Ice Cream (RM 8)

Durian Ice Cream

This is a delicious concoction of homemade vanilla ice cream with durian paste. It’s delicious when they’ve just made it and it tastes like real durians instead of dodol (a local confection made with durians). It’s the reason my better half loves this place.

Jelly Pisang (RM 8)

Jelly Pisang

This is a classic Sibu dessert – it used to be served with shaved ice and bananas and Jello. Nowadays, it’s almost extinct. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only two places who still serves this – Peppers Cafe @ Tanahmas Hotel and here. This is the higher end version with homemade ice cream. It’s pictured next to Roselle Juice (RM 6) – a refreshing drink made from the roselle plant. It’s misspelled as Roxelle Juice in the menu.

Payung Cafe Birthday

It’s a wonderful dinner, made even better with the awesome company – my dad and my better half. My dad insisted of picking up the bill and treating us to the meal since it’s my birthday. The total for the three of us came up to RM 132 which is very reasonable for the amount we ordered and true to this word, the owner took RM 1 off the bill. :)

Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams mailed all the way from Australia!

a.k.a. The incredible Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams Australian adventure!

adriano zumbo red velvet tim tams

I had the first trio of Adriano Zumbo’s limited edition Tim Tams when I was in Sydney a couple of months back, and when I heard that he just did *another* collaboration with Arnott’s Tim Tams, I knew I had to get it mailed to me (at considerable expense).

red velvet cream cheese

The latest collaboration between pâtissier extraordinare Adriano Zumbo with Arnott’s is Red Velvet and it’s so delicious that words does not do it justice. It’s magnificent!

adraino zumbo red velvet

But first, I also want to tell you the story behind this rather interesting experiment. I have mailed various snacks back when I was studying in Australia and I know it can be done (without a cold bag) but I half expected the new Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams to be fully melted when I got it.

adriano zumbo new red velvet tim tams

I rallied my old friend Karen who’s living in Melbourne to mail these treasures to me, since I’ve left Australia and could not hand carry them on my return flight. I just had to have the latest Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams – I not only had the first set of three, I bought a whole lot of his Zumbarons back and we used his macaron baking kit too (post about that soon).

adraino zumbo red velvet australia

Karen is someone I’ve known for practically my entire life – we went to school together and we ever had a class play called Okana featuring her as the lead when we were 14. That was just before I left for New Zealand and we met up again when I was doing my college and uni in Melbourne. I remember celebrating her birthday in Dion (a nice Greek restaurant on Lonsdale St) before going to Moomba in 2003. I spent 5 years there – she never left!

Thus, I knew I could count on her and sent her some simple instructions on how to get the Tim Tams to me:

huai bin


Okay, maybe not that simple. Here’s her reply:

karen lau

Haha! In my defence, my better half is a huge fan of Adriano Zumbo too and I wanted it to arrive in mint condition so we can open it together. I was more than pleased – the way Karen packed the Tim Tams made them so structurally sound (due to the inner plastic tray stacking and resisting external pressures) that it not only arrived without breaking, the chocolate did not melt at all.

australia post

Thanks to Karen and David who took the trouble to get them and send it over with my simple complicated and excessively verbose instructions. :D

limited edition red velvet tim tams

I knew the Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams weighs 165 grams each from the Coles site. I thought I could get 5 of them (165 g x 5 = 825 g) into a box and still stay below 1 kg but it’s a good thing I didn’t push it and settled for 4 coz the weight came up to 0.912 kg!

There was no huge temperature fluctuations and I kept them in my permanently air-conditioned bedroom for several days before me and my dear opened the box.

limited edition red velvet

It was a very happy unboxing! The fact that I could eat the newest and latest Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams was more than awesome, we had looked forward to this package for a long time. I honestly didn’t expect it to taste great despite all the (good humored) baiting I got on Facebook since I expressed my interest from Cyd (another one of my ex-classmates).

How do the new Adriano Zumbo limited edition Red Velvet Tim Tams taste like?

My verdict on the taste:

red velvet tim tams

I didn’t think the Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tams would taste this awesome. It’s honestly the best Tim Tams I have ever had! I’ve only really liked Salted Caramel out of his first collaboration trio and my favorite Tim Tam flavor was Turkish Delight (until now).

red velvet us

My better half says it tastes *exactly* like eating red velvet cake. I thought it was a cross between eating red velvet cake and a Tim Tam. Adriano Zumbo did well in this second collaboration – it surpasses the original triplet of limited edition Tim Tams. It’s rich, decadent and balanced well. The buttery red velvet Tim Tams pairs up with the cream cheese (!!!) center to produce an irresistible biscuit.

The new Red Velvet Tim Tams by Adriano Zumbo comes in the standard 9-biscuit pack, unlike the “Treat Pack only” (5-biscuit) format of his previous collaboration with Tim Tam.

adriano zumbo red velvet cream cheese

It’s really delicious and well worth the postage to get them here. I spent AUD 32.50 on postage and each pack of Adriano Zumbo Red Velvet Tim Tam retailed for AUD 3.49. That comes up to AUD 49.49 in total (or about RM 144). Thus, each pack cost me RM 36. That’s RM 4 per Tim Tam biscuit (!) but I’ll happily get a second batch over in a heartbeat. Don’t miss out if you ever see them around, the latest Arnott’s Tim Tams x Adriano Zumbo collaboration will blow you away with the velvety red velvet cake inspired Tim Tam with the buttery cream cheese center!

Mid-Autumn 2014 Mooncake Roundup: Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk, beetroot infused Crimson Opera, and traditional Foochow lard mooncakes!

crimson opera

We bought a lot of mooncakes this year – so much so that there’s a lot of leftovers still sitting in the pantry! The Mid-Autumn Festival festival is based on a rather interesting legend:

There was an noble archer called Hou Yi who shoots down 9 of the 10 suns scorching the Earth and was hailed as a hero and pronounced King by the people. However, he eventually he grew corrupted during his reign and became obsessed with finding the Elixir of Life (for immortality) and coveted it for himself. His wife, knowing that he has become an evil ruler, decided not to give it to him and swallowed it herself to save the world from her tyrannical husband.

donutes mooncakes

That was the version I was familiar with – it was told by my grandparents. It’s also listed under Mid-Autumn mythology in Wikipedia. My great-grandmother was a great believer in legends and *swore* I would get my ear cut if I dared looked at the full moon during Mid-Autumn Festival. Apparently the magnificence of Yi’s wife would somehow reach down from the celestial heavens and slice off the ear of an innocent 7 year old boy just coz he wondered what the bright light was.

mooncake 2014

Okay, I was actually quite naughty and stared stubbornly at the moon in spite of her admonitions and my great-grandma (God bless her soul) actually took out a great big pair of tailoring scissors and seriously wanted to cut my ear lobe off (!!!) to make her point. Fortunately, my uncles saw the severity of the situation and took the scissors away from her. I still remember her story though. Yeah, I was raised with lots of TLC. smirk

mooncakes 2014

It’s like how the original Grimm Brothers stories were all very twisted and realistic (with a veritable cast of regular people with all their flaws) but children’s storybooks and eventually Disney changed them all to become easy-to-digest nice stories without any of the nastiness.

I digress, here’s this year’s mooncake roundup! :)

1. Donutes Taiwanese Mung Bean Mooncakes

taiwanese mooncakes

These come in a box of 9 pieces for RM 49.50. There are two flavors – Mung Bean Original and Mung Bean Crisp Garlic. The latter is quite interesting and it’s the first box of mooncakes I got for my better half’s parents.

2. Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk

dragon fruit coconut

I found this to be the most interesting from Tai Thong’s offerings this year. It’s a dragon fruit flavored mooncake with a single yolk inside – what makes it intriguing is the coconut jam (kaya) surrounding the preserved egg yolk. I was quite pleased to find the flavor combination works very well.

3. Shanghai Egg Yolk Mooncakes

yong sheng shanghai mooncakes

This one I bought in Sibu from the import speciality grocer Ta Kiong for RM 49. There are 8 mini Shanghai mooncakes inside and they’re individually wrapped in twin packs.

egg yolk pies

It’s made by Yong Sheng and they’ve been around since 1952 – before Malaysia’s Independence Day! Each of the miniature pies have a full sized egg yolk inside and I gave them to my dear and she quite liked it. The black sesame topping goes very well with the flaky pastry.

homemade shanghai mooncakes

I also have a home-made version from Fairy Flower Cake Shop which comes in a box of 6. Surprisingly, the home made ones are quite expensive since they’re small batch.

4. Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes 2014

starbucks mooncake

I wrote about the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes in a previous post. These are miniature 90 gram mooncakes – slightly less than ½ the size of regular mooncakes.

5. D24 and Musang King Mooncakes

durian mooncakes 2014

My dear kindly bought me two durian flavored mooncakes coz I really like durians and I really like mooncakes. We’ve had them last year and we found them tasty – it’s in the 2013 Mid-Autumn Mooncake Roundup.

6. Traditional Foochow Lard Mooncakes

jing su gao

These are called jing su gao and they’re traditional Foochow lard mooncakes. They don’t have no fancy snowskin, chocolate or ice cream mooncakes back in the days. This was all they had. You’ll notice that all three (3) packs are different despite looking the same. It’s made by 3 distinct bakers – Sin Hing Leong Cake Store, Kinsen Trading Co and Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store.

foochow mooncakes

The middle one looks pleasingly brownish-yellow like freshly baked cookies while the outer two are a pale white. It’s due to the lard vs butter content. My favorite would be from Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store – it has the right combination of lard and butter to my taste buds. These Foochow mooncakes are more like biscuits (or cookies) with a crumbly texture and a distinctive taste of lard.

7. Taste of Crimson Opera

taste of crimson opera

This is Casahana’s flagship mooncake of 2014! It costs RM 19.50 per mooncake and we bought it the day before Mid-Autumn Festival. They also have a charcoal black sesame brown sugar omochi mooncake called Dark Knight but I decided to go for their signature one – expansively named “Taste of Crimson Opera”.

beetroot cheese chocolate

There’s a burst of beetroot and cocoa followed by the tartness of cheese and creamy white chocolate. There’s nothing traditional about this mooncake – all of the 4 ingredients (beetroot, white chocolate, cocoa, cheese) are not something you’ll usually find in a mooncake.

beetroot mooncake

The intricate floral pattern on the top of the mooncake is beautiful too! I was pleased to find that the beetroot is also baked into the skin (so the color isn’t artificial) and it’s not too thick. I would have thought the flowers would make the skin thicker but it’s actually part of the skin. This gets Best of 2014 from us! :)

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