Last year, I managed to only catch the end of the Taipei International Baking Show, I made sure to look for it when it rolled around this year. So once I spotted the discount voucher at one of the bakeries in February (NT$100 off a NT$200 admission fee), I rounded up a few friends who wanted to join and made my way to its new location at the Nangang Exhibition Hall.
This year it seemed like there were tons of student groups in uniform on field trips, filling the aisles and loitering near the Pizza Hut at lunchtime. But we were on a mission to work our way through over 700 booths in a few hours. First we were to skim through the industrial side which had heavy duty machinery of every kind and a few things to shop for, like cupcake wrappers and baking supplies. Then move onto the bakery side, which had lots of food, cakes, snacks, chocolates and sweets for sale.
It's a great peek into the trade show side for the restaurant/bakery business...
|mixers for giants|
If you're willing to wade through the crowds to wander around each aisle, you might spot something you want to take home like maple syrup or cake decorating supplies.
|hello kitty tea|
There were quite a few areas that would tempt the home baker- especially if you are looking for pastel colored silicone cupcake trays or Wilton candy molds or frosting gear.
Samples are available if you're willing to wait...
|fresh pasta demo|
Even shaved ice machines and shaved ice.
After I stocked up on cupcake liners and mini muffin liners, we ran to the food side, which I miss out on last year. From traditional Taiwanese snacks like nougat candies and pineapple cakes to trendy chocolate iPhones and Jeremy Lin cakes, there was much to drool over and see.
|Taiwanese nougat candies|
|"cow tongue" crackers|
Freshly popped rice crackers came in original, shrimp and wasabi flavors.
Skipped past the few familiar names like Florida Bakery, Gino Pasco and Lady MaCa...
|every inch must be covered with butter!|
as well as discovered some new shops like Devil Dessert.
While I wasn't surprised to see so many breads, chocolates and sweets on display and for sale, I noticed a lot of pineapple cakes and traditional snacks available too.
|colorful Catamona tea display|
There was even photography lighting kits available that folded flat into a zip up case. Tempting!
One big part of the Taipei International Baking Show each year is the competitions that it holds. This year's City Bread Championship's chefs were hard at work to impress the serious looking judges at the tables.
And wedding cakes and impossibly tall sugar sculptures on display to admire.
So whether you're thinking about starting your own little cafe or just have a heavy duty sweet tooth, mark your calendar for March next year for the 2013 Taipei International Baking Show.