It was almost 10PM on 29 October 2013, my last night in Singapore. At the basement of Takashimaya on Orchard Road, there was a plethora of munchies on display. What to get?
I had read somewhere that one of the things that you must buy in Singapore is Bengawan Solo pineapple tarts. Honestly, they didn't sound very appealing to me. I like tarts. I like pineapple. Together, though, not so much.
But I had some cash burning a hole in my pocket, a huge check-in baggage allowance that I'd already paid for, and a niggling sense that I would regret getting on the plane without purchasing some type of local pastry.
The smallest box cost SGD18.80 (about US$15) and contained 38 thumb-sized pieces.
Ingredients: butter, eggs, milk, flour, sugar and pineapple filling.
Back home, I put it on the counter and sort of forgot about it... until yesterday when I was feeling a bit peckish.
The first taste was sour! It was a real eye-opener. This thing was telling me from the get-go that it was not a sickly sweet kiddie treat. Almost immediately after the initial bite, the pastry crumbled and melted in my mouth, neutralizing the tartness (pun intended) and mellowing the flavors out.
My tongue told me: There's the butter. There's the flaky pastry. There's the slightly fibrous fruit. Some zing, some richness, a bit of chewiness. And then, poof. It was gone.
I reached for another one. And another, and another. Before I knew it, I had inhaled half of my tarts.
Incredibly addicting. Mrs. Liew, I'm so very sorry that I discovered you so late in life.
Is anybody going to Singapore? Please, please bring me back some Bengawan Solo pineapple tarts. And get a box for yourself, too. You will not regret it.
Bengawan Solo website