2415 Clarke Street
Port Moody, BC
Tues – Sat: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Original post below:
This was a far cry from my usual pattern of seeking out new eats. First off, this mission required an extended drive way out to the community of Port Moody – a quaint little place with an older downtown core near the water but also has some beautiful natural surroundings up in the nearby mountains. Second, this was a deliberate foodosophy trip focused solely on sweets, with no regular food component as part of the meal.
So what led me to what is self-dubbed as the “City of the Arts”? A Japanese-specialty dessert shop known as Cake-ya.
Located in an older building next door to a funky used bookstore and down the same path as a soup/sandwich joint, Cake-ya began as a place that made and sold Japanese pudding, otherwise known as Purin. To describe it simply, I would say it is a smooth, silky custard (with the usual key ingredients such as butter, milk, sugar, eggs, etc.) with a sweet caramel syrupy sauce at the base. I’ve traditionally enjoyed it as a simple after meal sweet treat, or on its own while drinking a contrasting bitter green tea.
Inside Cake-ya, you are able to see the entire production/operation. Laid out on one of the big workstations I could immediately see trays of little containers that were filled with the custard base and being readied to be steamed. In front was a large glass display case with assorted Japanese treats, including a wider selection of other flavoured purin. I had come to Cake-ya specifically to sample and buy some of their daifuku (little round pockets of mochi filled with sweetened azuki bean paste) that I’d heard through word-of mouth; but sadly they had all sold out by the time I arrived in the early Sunday afternoon.
Rather then walk out empty-handed, I decided I’d get my next favorite thing in the purin. However rather than their original (which they were selling for a reduced price on this day if you bought two), I asked to have one of their black sesame versions. I just love black sesame in sweets, and one of my best ice cream memories is when I had this ingredient included in one that I ate in Japan.
When it comes to the more orthodox purin, I do enjoy it both hot as well as chilled. This black sesame version though was only available in its cooled-down form. No bother, as I was able to eat it right away from the comforts of my car just a short while later. 🙂
The texture was a slightly less smoother but that was as expected given the finely ground down sesame seeds in this particular mixture. Of course, compared to the ice cream I once had, the sweetness was toned down as well. For those unfamiliar with Japanese desserts, you might think they had missed out on adding enough sugar when this was made, but rest assured, this is how many desserts and wagashi (Japanese confectionaries) are prepared over there. I’d really like to replay my visit, as I should have ordered the original type too, in order to make a direct comparison.
The woman who was serving me also asked if I’d like to sample some of their roll cakes. As I nodded yes, she quickly pulled out some pre-cut, bite sized pieces of their green tea roll cake. Again, subtle sugary flavor as the sweetness was reduced to be more on par with Japanese tastes. The small bit was more cake than filling, so being curious about it, I decided to purchase a full roll of another type on display, the Japanese strawberry short cake.
Generously stuffed with a whipped cream (probably made to be more “stable” by having been sitting in the chiller) filling and smaller cut pieces of fresh strawberries, it really did hit the spot. The moist, foamy-textured cake melded well together with the soft filling in each and every bite. Again, the “reserved” level of the sweetness is probably something that will appeal to each person differently. For someone like me who has some familiarity, it works. Its nothing at all like the diabetes-inducing sugary madness of those cheesecakes that I sometimes crave. 🙂
So if you too are up to the challenge and more conservative sweetness of Japanese desserts and sweets, I suggest you too make the trek out to Port Moody. And if you do, bring me back some daifuku. 🙂