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COMPASS MAGAZINE, May 2003

SHAN MAI FOOD COMPANY (TA CHIA STORE)

116, Jang Gung Road, Ta Chia Town, Taichung County
(04) 2676-2633;
Hours: 8:30 am-10 pm

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       Readily identified by its purple stores and logo, this latest, sixth branch of the rapidly-growing Shan Mai Food Company chain of stores is located in the company's home town of Ta Chia. The most popular product of this bakery company is a Ta Chia specialty--"yu tou shu" whole-wheat taro-filled pastries. Customers have found these little, light-purple cakes delicious, as they are hand-made by Shan Mai with butter and taro, without preservatives or the bean-based additives that many companies use. These all-natural cakes--made fresh twice a day and popular as gifts--should be eaten within about four days. The 26-year-old company, still headed by founding chef Ah-Tsung Shr, also has a wide, colorful range of other, equally-delicious pastries, including similar-size yam-filled and green tea-filled pastries, Danish cookies and pineapple cakes. There are plans to introduce low-calorie taro cakes as well. These are all beautifully packaged in various sizes of boxes, holding 12 to 20 of the pastries (NT$300 to NT$500 for the taro cakes). Cakes may also be ordered 24 hours a day via the company website at http://www.smai.com.tw Other stores include two in Taichung city, at 642-1, Taya Road (tel. 2295-7367) and 122-6, Taichung Kang Road, section 2, at the corner of Henan Road (tel. 2708-2268).

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