Anyone who leaves Taiwan without at least one box of pineapple cake is missing out. As one of the most popular edible gift/souvenirs in Taiwan (a thriving economy in Taiwan), it comes as no surprise that there are dozens of pastry specialty shops and bakeries that churn out delectable pineapple cakes and other traditional Taiwanese pastries, ready to be wrapped up and gifted (or straight up shipped home). While many people swear by the more modern Sunny Hills, just as many (if not more) line up for Chia Te to stock up by the box.
In fact, people purchase by bulk so often that most just go in, grab an order form, and then wait in line for them to box it up for you, rather than grabbing what you need from the shelves that are getting perpetually re-stocked throughout the day. Not to mention the stacks and boxes of extra inventory that seem to have a constant presence in the store. The experience itself may be overwhelming for the uninitiated, but there is a method to the madness, and whether you’re just picking up a couple treats to munch on or fulfilling a lengthy order, they have systems in place to cater.
Chia Te has the whole portfolio of traditional Taiwanese pastries. There’s the classic pineapple cake, a less traditional cranberry flavored pineapple cake, sun cakes and wife cakes (variations of flat, round pastries with sweet fillings), salted egg yolk pastries, mung bean pastries and other things in the moon cake realm, the popular scallion cracker nougat sandwiches and even large engagement cakes (which are traditionally gifted when an engagement is announced). Prices are moderate enough to be pretty accessible even if you aren’t buying in bulk, making it a must-stop for locals and visitors alike.
|Hours||08:00 – 21:30 every day|
|Price||$-$$ – solidly budget friendly option, not the cheapest option out there but a ways away from many others|
|Aesthetic||nonexistent (but that’s ok)|
Go here for: grabbing edible souvenirs before you leave town
Order this: the classic pineapple cake is a must, the “wife cake” and sun cake are a popular choices as well, and the sweet salty green onion cracker nougat sandwiches
Amount of time to spend: if you know exactly what you want, probably 10-15 minutes depending on the line and how much you order, otherwise at least 20 minutes to get oriented and figure out what you’re getting
When to come: a day or two before you leave, for shelf life
Getting here: the shop is right on Nanjing East Road, right by the Nanjing Sanmin Station (green line), exit 2.
Other things to note:
Last visited: October 2019
Last updated: January 2021