Have I ever told you I love tai yang bing? Sure I did! 😛 I even researched how to make tai yang bing and eventually made it from scratch with the help of cookbook and video. You can check out my tai yang bing recipe here if you’re interested to try it yourself. They’re so yummy and worth it.
Ok, so I went to Taiwan early this month (Nov 2015) and you bet I didn’t forget about this sweet treats. Just like pineapple cake, sun cake or more commonly known as tai yang bing (太陽餅) is a must-buy Taiwan food souvenir. I bought tai yang bing from three shops; Li Yi, Sugar & Spice and Chia Te and will be comparing them below. Read on if you want to know more.
Comparison and verdicts on Li Yi’s, Sugar & Spice’s and Chia Te’s tai yang bing:
From my Taiwan travel planning stage (Taipei-Jiufen visit), Li Yi was my number one must-try tai yang bing shop (made this choice due to online opinions). I went to Sugar & Spice because of their nougats… so I thought why not get a box of sun cakes as well? Then Chia Te was because I was there for the pineapple cakes. So yeah, why not again? Hehehe
When I sampled Li Yi’s tai yang bing in their Jiufen main shop, my heart made a loud thud sound. Yeah, I was severely disappointed. But I went ahead and bought a box home. My initial plan was to buy 2-3 boxes! There are no tai yang bing samples to try at Sugar & Spice and Chia Te.
Packaging wise, all three are interesting. Chia Te has the largest packaging size while Li Yi’s (upper left) and Sugar & Spice’s (upper right) packaging are quite even.
Although they are sun cakes, each company named their sun cakes differently. Li Yi called it butter sun cake, Sugar & Spice called it classic original sun cake and Chia Te named it simply sun cakes.
Interesting fact: I read somewhere that the original sun cake is pale in color (without egg wash).
|Li Yi tai yang bing||Sugar & Spice tai yang bing||Chia Te tai yang bing|
|Price per piece||NT$30||NT$30||NT$28|
|Diameter (in cm)||8.5||8||9|
|Shelf life||15 days||15 days||15 days|
|Color||dark golden brown||pale golden with red marking||golden brown|
|Flaky & layers observations||Least flaky and least layers||Very flaky and many layers.||Very flaky and many layers|
Li Yi’s tai yang bing has the least flakiness and layers. It smells of butter but in a weird kind of way – disagreeable odor (the reason I was disappointed). The pastry and crust are soft. Sweetness of the maltose is perfect when you bite into it together with the pastry. Maltose taste very different from the other two… more on a salty side.
Sugar & Spice’s tai yang bing has lots of beautiful layers and is very flaky. It smells milky and buttery. The pastry is crisp and not soft. It is the sweetest of all the three. Maltose taste similar to Chia Te.
Chia Te’s tai yang bing also has lots of layers and flakiness. It smells milky and buttery and its pastry is also crisp. Sweetness is just right, blending well with the pastry. In terms of taste, Chia Te’s and Sugar & Spice’s tai yang bings have quite a few similarities.
Chia Te has the largest tai yang bing size and cost the least. They all have very short shelf life so it’s wise to buy just the right amount. Whether you prefer a flaky tai yang bing or a less sweet one… it’s your choice. 🙂
My dad and sis prefer Chia Te although Sugar & Spice doesn’t lack too far behind while mom likes Li Yi. My preference are also between Chia Te and Sugar & Spice but I prefer Sugar & Spice by a bit more because it’s sweeter and I like sweet stuff. If I didn’t compare these three sun cakes all at one go, I like them all when eaten individually at different times and day. Funny eh.
1. A total of 30 pieces of tai yang bing were consumed in the span of 15 days by four people. Of that 10 pieces from Li Yi, 8 pieces from Sugar & Spice and 12 pieces from Chia Te.
2. Two people had tai yang bing overloaded because they ate it the most.
3. Despite all that, that one person (me!) still love tai yang bing LOADS!
Tsk, I also made a post about Chia Te’s and Li Yi’s pineapple cakes. Read on.