We had a fun and relaxing time during our family visit to Great Roots Forestry Spa Resort. And one of the best things was reliving the experience when we returned home — through a gift pack of mochi and sweet bean cake.
I admit that ‘mung bean cake’ doesn’t sound so appetising, although their name in Chinese (冰心綠豆糕, ice-heart green bean cakes) sounds much more inviting. But this is not some kind of hippy-healthfood that is trying to be a dessert. The soft yellow tiles with their geometric, oriental design are made from a sweetened dried mung bean paste.
The cakes taste of a cross between marzipan and biscuit crumbs, strangely reminiscent of my Nana’s kitchen yet with a distinctly oriental taste. And the little cakes are filled with a smooth mixture made from sweetened red bean taste, that somehow tastes of dates.
Even more delicious are Great Roots’ sweet mochi. Mochi (麻糬) are a Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice flour. The version made at The Great Roots Forestry Spa Resort are made with the mineral-rich carbonated hot springs water at the resort. The first time I ate these they were served frozen and only slightly defrosted. I liked the semi-freddo texture, but I preferred them eaten defrosted. Try both and see which you prefer.
The mochi we tried came in four flavours: green tea (matcha), black sugar, peanut and black sesame. Their website refers to other flavours such as coffee and red bean. There are a lot of black colours in the selection, but there is a lot of variety in the taste. It is difficult to choose a favourite (an excuse for another taste test?), but if I had to pick I would go for the peanut version as I liked the slightly salty/sweet combination
The Great Roots Forestry Spa Resort is in Sanxia, less than an hour from Taipei and around 30 to 40 minutes from Taoyuan International Airport (237台北縣三峽鎮插角里80號 TEL:(02)-2674-9228). They sell mochi and green bean cakes at a souvenir shop in the foyer to the complex. Alternatively, you can buy online. The green bean cakes cost NT$250 a box, and mochi are NT$25 each.