The best places in the world specialize in one thing and do that one thing extremely well. Sunny Hills does that for pineapple cakes. Pineapple cake is a Taiwanese gifting staple. It’s a classic souvenir, something you’d bring into work after traveling, or bring as a gift when visiting friends abroad. It’s a local specialty that has evolved over the years from traditional pastries which were more winter melon than pineapple to be a variety of shapes, flavors and textures to please every palate. Oh, and it’s not so much a cake as it is a buttery shortbread-like pastry wrapped around a jammy fruit center.
As you can imagine, it’s a crowded landscape, but Sunny Hills, whether it’s your favorite or not, has gained the respect of locals and visitors near and far. Their rendition uses “tu feng li,” featuring more of a fibrous, natural texture to the pineapple jam (without the addition of winter melon as a traditional sweetener), and a more robust, thick pastry shell. Beyond pineapple cake, they also sell pineapple juice, honey cake, oolong tea and occasionally have seasonal specials.
But let’s be real, the best part about Sunny Hills is that they offer free samples to everyone who walks in. And I’m not talking about like a Costco sample. I’m talking a free dining experience. Upon entering, you’ll be escorted to a dining area where the servers will present each person with a tray of Taiwanese delicacies: one Sunny Hills pineapple cake and a cup of Taiwanese oolong tea.
After sampling, you can purchase box sets in a variety of sizes, which will come in a cute branded canvas tote, perfect for gifting. Given that the products are preservative free, the pastries only last for about 3 weeks, so if you’re buying to bring home, you should wait until late in the trip. If you’re flying from Taoyuan International Airport, they have an outpost in the international terminal to purchase boxes right before you go.
a special pineapple cake + tea sampling at their collaborative pop up with Jing Sheng Yu Tea
|Address||Taipei: Taipei City, Songshan District, Alley 4, Lane 36, Section 5, Minsheng East Road, 1號1樓 (also a to-go location in Taipei 101, A9 and at the Taoyuan Airport)|
Nantou: No. 2號, Lane 1100, Bagua Road, Nantou City
Kaohsiung: Kaohsiung City, Yancheng District, Dayi Street, 2-6號C11-1倉庫
Hong Kong: 8 Chancery Ln, Central, Hong Kong
Tokyo: 3 Chome-10-20 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo
Singapore: 391A Orchard Rd, Singapore 238873
Shanghai: 133 Yuanmingyuan Rd, Waitan, Huangpu, Shanghai
|Hours||varies by location but the Taipei one is 10:00-18:00 every day|
|Price||$$ – pricier than a lot of choices you can find for pineapple cake (~42NT each), but still cheaper than the fancy bakeries and other pastry specialists|
|Aesthetic||natural, minimal, sunny, some locations have some pretty cool architecture too|
Go here for: picking up some pineapple cake for friends and family (or for yourself)
Buy this: pineapple cake box sets (they come in a variety of sizes)
Amount of time to spend: ~20 minutes, for tasting and purchasing
When to come: weekdays or later in the day tend to be less crowded, but varies by location
Getting here: most of the locations no matter what city is fairly accessible via public transportation (Nantou is a little more remote). For Taipei, it’s a bit of a walk from MRTs (as of 2020) and it would be easier by bus (12, 63, 225, 248, 254, 262, 505, 518, 521, 612, 652, 905, 棕1)
Other things to note:
Last visited: October 2019
Last updated: September 2020