One of the sweet delicacies I love most from Asia is the Pineapple Tart (sometimes referred to as Pineapple Cake). I think these originated in Taiwan, but over time they have been exported to other countries with large Taiwanese/Chinese communities. Singapore is one of these countries, and nowadays many people claim that the Singaporean culinary touch has improved upon the original Pineapple Tart.
In any shop in Taiwan, you can ask for “Fengli Su” and the confectioner will immediately understand what you mean. Chances are you will be directed to a display that is full of Pineapple Cakes of many shapes and sizes. A variation of this cake is to have a watermelon flavour. But whichever flavour takes your fancy, you will soon realise that you feel like a kid in a sweet shop!
In Taiwanese wedding tradition, the wedding cake has six flavours symbolising six rites, among them being pineapple. Pineapple in Taiwanese Hokkien is pronounced “onglai”, which sounds almost the same as a phrase meaning “to come forth, prosperous and thriving”, and symbolises the hope that many children will be born to this family. The pineapple is also a common tribute Taiwanese people offer to venerate the deceased. In this case the corresponding phrases symbolise deep love for the ancestors.
Pineapple cake contains butter, flour, egg, sugar, and pineapple jam. However, some bakers add or substitute pineapple with melon to make the jam. Its crumbly, fragrant crust and the chewy, sweet fruit filling come together as a companion for tea and other beverages. Whether you prefer the Taiwanese or the Singaporean version, it is always advisable to get some exercise after eating Pineapple Cakes, as they are way too Moorish!