Every time my grandparents from Taiwan came to visit, they’d bring a luggage FULL of food from the homeland. Actual food, not just snacks. Frozen milkfish and squid fish balls, dried mushrooms, 老婆餅 (wife cake), tea, and these longan muffins. It’s a simple brown sugar muffin, but much lighter and fluffier. It gives off a subtle, but heartwarming brown sugar and honey smell. The best part? It’s full of dried longans and pieces of walnuts that provide a delectable chewy crunchy combo.
Why not just recreate this myself? I dug through some outdated, cringy Taiwanese videos and blogs to find this recipe. This cake reminds me of anticipating midnight when my grandparents would arrive from LAX. When I'd hear the van pulling in the driveway. When I can see their luggages being unloaded and know for sure that I'm about to be in for a treat. Besides greeting them heartily, my first order of business was always to open their suitcase with all the goodies.
It’s my Taiwanese culture’s blueberry muffin.
I don’t have any recollection of eating this when I was in Taiwan and it’s not like a super famous dessert in Taiwan. Yet, the first time I ate it felt like eating something I didn’t know I craved. Now, it just reminds me of my grandparents, who always mustered up their strength to bring a luggage of Taiwan over to us.