Much Ado About Cronuts

Have you tried one of these?

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A Cronut.

A doughnut-croissant hybrid created by Dominique Ansel, the Cronut has created a bit of a craze in New York – commanding queues outside his bakery as early as 4am. At the height of the craze, the pastries were sold out within a few hours on a daily basis – prompting some uncouth behaviour from disgruntled customers. 

And while the pastries normally cost $5 a piece, a lady with very deep pockets saw it fit to pay $14,000 for a dozen Cronuts at a recent charity drive (that’s almost $1,200 per Cronut!).

Not wanting to be left out, bakeries in other parts of the world have also capitalised on the Cronut’s success, producing their own versions of the famed dessert. Canadians have the frissant and the cronetto, South Koreans have the New York Pie Donuts, the Brits have the Greggsnut, and back home, Malaysians have the KLonut.

Why, even the itsy bitsy town of Basel has it. Brought into Switzerland by the bakery arm of Migros (a major Swiss supermarket chain), the cronut first landed in Zurich, and Basel shortly after.

Mr. Ansel, however, wasn’t too pleased about it, accusing Migros of being a copycat and stealing the Cronut name (which was not patented in Switzerland). Migros eventually gave in, and announced recently they would use another name for their version of the pastry.

Curious, I recently sampled Migros’ controversial pastries to see for myself what the fuss is all about.

My verdict?

It tastes a bit like cakoi. That deep fried dough popular among the Chinese and Malays alike; best eaten with rice porridge. Imagine a sweet-ish cakoi with custard piped through it and you get the idea.

To be fair, I haven’t had the chance to taste the original Cronut; only the Migros version.

If I ever get to taste the original Cronut, though, I hope it will be worth the kerfuffle.

Otherwise, I’d rather take a trip to the nearest pasar malam and get some good old cakoi for tea.

Biskut Toncet

Of all the things I could have brought back with me to Basel, I chose to sneak a packet of these little babies in my luggage:

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Iced gem biscuits.

Biskut toncet.

Colourful little diabetic morsels of sugary delight.

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Aren’t they just so purrrr-dayy? 

Growing up, these were a rare treat. Not because they were difficult to obtain, but because like carbonated drinks, junk food (Tora and Ding Dang come to mind) and fast food, iced gems were considered nutritionally suspect at best, and rubbish at worst.

But unlike carbonated drinks, which I never really fancied, or Tora and Ding Dang, which tasted like plastic-coated polysterene balls, I actually liked iced gems. I lusted over the perfectly piped sugar crowns, winking and waving at me from behind the glass jars. They beckoned me. But they were forbidden fruit.

Fast forward to more than two decades later, when I suddenly developed a nostalgic craving for the sugary treats.

So off I went to the neighbourhood kedai biskut, bought myself a half-kilo packet of iced gems, and carefully, lovingly, packed it in my luggage.

They’re currently sitting prettily in a glass jar, waiting to be devoured. Surprisingly enough, I haven’t been able to wolf them down in one sitting. At the most, I’ll munch on two or three every now and then.

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Which is for the best, I suppose.

Because after all, they have the nutritional value of a kidney failure.

But they’re so purrrrr-dayyyyy…. 

The Laksa From Home

In my last post, I was celebrating Eid-ul-Fitri back in Kuala Lumpur with friends and family.

Many moons have passed since then, and the numerous plates of ketupat and rendang I hungrily gobbled down are now nothing more than mere memories.

Many moons have indeed passed, as today we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha.

And to make sure I don’t feel too left out all the way here in Basel, my sister sent me a taste of what I’m missing.

Remember that candy-teleporting-TV thingymajig Willy Wonka invented in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

I wish I had one of those right now.

Eid Mubarak

I’m back in Kuala Lumpur now to celebrate Hari Raya (Eid-ul-Fitri), trying to meet as many friends and family members, while stuffing myself with as much good food as it is physically possible.

So this will be a quick post to wish those celebrating Selamat Hari Raya dan maaf zahir batin.

To everyone else, enjoy the glorious summer/school holiday/vacation/anything else you’re up to over the next few weeks!

I’m off to hunt for some rendang now….

Where Did January Go?

Wow. Is it February already?

No wait, let me rephrase that.

Is it almost mid-February already?

Where did January go?

More importantly, what on earth have I been up to, such that an entire month just flew by with nary a “hello”?

Honestly, I don’t know myself.

Well, there was Museumsnacht.

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