Being a pickyeater, I am not readily accustomed to almost anything that is available and though it may sound of inconvenience, it actually paved the perfect excuse for me to go on a food hunt; yes, for my own food; though hiding in the bushes and preying on unsuspecting animals is far from my mind. I am a civilized girl living in the modern and advanced 21st century, for goodness sake.
Besides, who needs to go on an actual hunting in the woods when we have our concrete jungle dotted with cemented buildings and marts with swinging electronic doors which opens automatically to welcome you?
Choices are in abundance here; we are after all, talking about hypermarkets here and I managed to pick one or two.
Shannon Cake; which is supposedly a healthy choice of a mini cake due to its sugarless content and ingredients used.
Guess what, the cake is not exactly a local one either as it is a famous cake from Europe.
Golly, I travelled this far to get something from a different continent, fascinating!
Mini in size, the taste was like it sounded; just one bite, or maybe two or three, if you have really small mouth like mine, and that's it, the cake is down your digestive tract.
It was quite pleasant in taste; and it was as it claimed; sugarless that the only taste one can make out is that of the flour and maybe the very slight hint of banana used in the making of the cake, or so I think.
This is another foreign cake; but I was quite delighted to see it (as usual) that I got it just to try their local taste of this Japanese pancake widely publicized as cartoon character, Doraemon's favorite (or only) food!
The Mini Red Bean paste Dorayaki
A tad too sweet for my liking; I think our local version of the Dorayaki found in Jusco in-house bakeries are better.
Finally, the last one is the authentic Guangsu Biscuits which is truly and definitely of the local China origins.
(Read my first encounter with this biscuit here; which I found in my own country)
What's more, this Guangsu or Jiangsu biscuits were born in the exact same place I was visiting and therefore, how could I fly off from this place without bringing samples of this biscuits from its birthplace?
This was definitely different from the one I had the first time; but then the earlier version was made locally in Malaysia.
I am not sure whether this is truly the original one, but it is definitely made in the province itself; where it was born.
The Guangsu/Jiangsu biscuit is a humble mode of meal for travelers; or particularly scholars or food for the middle-income to lower class families due to its availability and lower cost in making. Consisting mainly of dough, water and sugar, this biscuit serves to fulfill the hunger and provides sufficient energy to last one on their trip. The best part about this is that its dry texture enable it to be kept for a long time; thus making it a preferred food for traveling or for storing during the hard times.
It is a theory which I have come to believe after reading many Chinese-related novels and also watching various movies/TV series of the same theme.
It was not to be expected as a fancy food; in fact, it did feel like eating a unleavened bread or biting on flour dough.
However, what went through my mind was not on the taste of the biscuit itself, but rather, the story of its humble beginnings and how our forefathers and people in the past survived on potatoes, starch, flour and unleavened bread and it made me realize our glistening fortune today; right in our faces.
That, I believe, is the magic of the Guangsu biscuit; whereby it is not to satisfy one's culinary buds but rather as a modest reminder of one's past and the long road we have come to be what we are today.
Scholars who have thrived on this biscuit while thronging the roads to their bright future; brave men who filled their hearts and stomachs with this bread while battling their way to the glory of their birthplace, anxious pheasants on the run or in hiding throttling with bits of these bread covered in dust for their children are just a few of the scenario that comes to mind.
A bittersweet journey reminiscent of this biscuit; which I hope will be passed on to remind our future generations as well.
They say that souvenirs often bring home memories of a vacation with you; but I say these three cakes brought not memories of the trip but rather of the hilarity of finding something non-local to bring home and of all, the local Guangsu biscuit speaks of the most profound effect albeit the most bland in taste.
It was definitely a lot more than what I would bargain for, but it made the trip and experience almost complete...