Skip to main content

Nagasaki Castella: Love at first bite



Cake lovers all over the world surely must have heard of Nagasaki Castella (picture).

It is a Japanese sponge cake (made of egg yolks, brown sugar crystals, refined white sugar, thick rice syrup and flour) and is said to be popular in Japan and other parts of the world.


I first tasted the cake in December 2007 after attending the Second Asian City Journalist Conference (ACJC) which was held in Fukuoka City, Japan.


(The conference was jointly organised by UN Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Fukuoka) and The Nishinippon Newspaper).


I had plenty of time before my flight home.

So I browsed the shelves of one of the duty-free shops at Fukuoka International Airport for something interesting to buy and I chanced upon individually wrapped long boxes which looked very attractive from where I was standing.


The boxes contained the Nagasaki Castella.

I love cakes and I couldn't resist the temptation that was staring at me intently.


I bought three boxes for myself and friends back home.


It was a wise decision.


The taste was incredible.


As journalist Jehan Mohd describes it: "It was love at first bite."


You will feel a "slightly gritty sensation when the bottom of the cake is put into the mouth," states a brochure inside the box.


"This comes from individual grains of finely ground brown sugar crystals."


"It is nice and rich without being overly sweet. It is soft and fluffy," says Jehan.


For journalist Aref Omar eating the cake sends "a shot of bliss" through his taste buds "which takes me back to my childhood".


The Castella is a heart-warming story of East meeting West.


The cake was introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries (some accounts say Portuguese traders) in the mid-16th Century and it is one of the finest examples of Japanese innovation.


The flavour is great and the history is fascinating.


Altogether it is a very satisfying experience.

 
I tasted the Japanese delight again when Takeshi Kokubu -- senior editor of The Nishinippon Newspaper -- presented every participant of the Third ACJC, which was held in Nanjing, China last November, with a box of Nagasaki Castella.


The Fourth ACJC was held in Fukuoka City, Japan on December 14, this year.


The obvious move for me, needless to say, was to go back to the same duty-free shop at Fukuoka International Airport for the Japanese sponge cake.


The picture below shows journalists Suzieana Uda Nagu, Jehan Mohd and Sharifah Arfah enjoying the Castella with hot tea.





Comments

FAEZAH ISMAIL said…
Thank you for dropping by, janakikrishan.

Popular Posts

My year at The Rakyat Post

  Dec 31, 2014, the last day of the year and the end of my one year stint at The Rakyat Post , an online news portal. Educational is the best way to sum up my year at The Rakyat Post. Leaving your comfort zone is intimidating at first; it has a steep learning curve. But now I wish I had done it sooner and the whole exercise reaffirms my motto: “learn, learn, learn”. Einstein was spot on when he said, “Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it”. When I left the New Straits Times to join The Rakyat Post on Jan 3, 2014, I didn’t know what to expect. Nelson Fernandez, also known as Mohd Ridzwan Abdullah, had invited me to join him at the website this time last year. Nelson Fernandez at his office at The Rakyat Post He was charged with assembling a team to provide content for the portal. And I am glad I said yes. Switching from traditional journalism to online journalism is challenging, as anyone who had made

'Daddy Cool' in KL

Those who danced to the hits of Boney M in the mid-70s and mid-80s are now a lot older, visibly rounder and arguably wiser. All that didn't matter when they gathered at Sunway Lagoon Hotel on Saturday night to see the pop and disco group, which was originally based in West Germany, performed for charity at a show organised by Lejadi Group. The moment Liz Mitchell came on stage and showed off her vocals with Amazing Grace, fans poised themselves for a rush that would last for several days. The audience was easily persuaded. Before they knew it, fans of Boney M were clapping their hands and getting off their seats to gyrate to Sunny, Ma Baker, Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday!, Daddy Cool (the group's first number 1 hit), Rasputin, Rivers of Babylon, No Woman No Cry and Bahama Mama, among others. "We want you to get really happy ... we want to encourage you to dance so that your blood gets hot," coaxed Mitchell, the group's original lead si

Who am I?

Malaysian artist Jeganathan Ramachandram will be exhibiting his paintings in Singapore if a deal with a company to display Human Watching: A Visual Poetry on the Science of Human Watching in the island republic is successful. The intuitive artist told Survey that the move is still under negotiation. Human watching made its debut at Galeri Petronas in March, 2009 and was well received by both art critics and art lovers. Fourteen portraits representing females and males born on each of the seven days in a week were put on view. The depictions (acrylic on canvas) were based on his observations of human behaviour for the past 14 years. Images of seven females and seven males inform viewers through symbols of their strengths and weaknesses and their relationships with other people. Those who have seen Human Watching identified with their profiles almost immediately. Admit it: you are curious about yourself! Males, who were born on Sunday ( bottom picture ), were pleasantly surprised to dis