Of the traditional Taiwanese snacks thats out there that you can buy on the mean streets of Taipei, the wheel cakes are our absolute favorite. The street side pastry is about as classic as fried Twinkie,. You’ll find millions of Taiwanese people old and young recalling some of the best memories while munching on one of these wheel cakes. Though these wheel cakes are a Japanese invention(as told by Wikipedia), I’d venture to say that these wheel cakes are no longer just a Taiwanese thing but rather an Asian “thang.” Its not uncommon to find street vendors selling fresh wheel cakes in Tokyo, Bangkok or even in Jakarta. If it weren’t for my weak-ass stomach, I’d probably have eaten the wheel cakes in every one of those locations. Damn FDA-regulated food making my stomach weaker than the LA Laker’s draft class.
Anyhow, for a deeper dive into what a wheel cake actually is, visit Wikipedia to find out more. For the purpose of this article, just know that biting into a wheel cake is akin to your taste buds getting a massage from 42 fairies all at the same time. Magical.
Last June 1st in New Taipei City, a small little wheel cake shop known as Backpackers opened to very little fanfare. Since that time, the local media has picked up their story with their unique take on the venerable wheel cake.
At a glance, Backpackers doesn’t look like much as its situated in a nondescript street flanked by a 7-Eleven and a parking lot. But what it lacks in locational flare is made up with its intuitiveness by foregoing the traditional red bean filling and exchanging it with a worldly flare. For instance, Backpackers has a Goddess Tears wheel cake that is inspired by American travelers. What that means is that they’ve replaced the red beans with hot dogs, tomatoes and yellow mustard. I’m not completely sure what gives people the idea that Americans are made up of hot dogs(I would’ve picked buffalo chicken wings), but it doesn’t take away from Backpacker’s creativity.
Other variations include a hakka style wheel cake filled to the brim with Hakka Stir Fry and a badass version in which the red beans have been replaced with Oreos and melty cheese. Damn. Each of these wheel cake variations are inspired by a different country and a landmark from that country. For instance, the oreo version of the wheel cake is based on the assumption that Egypt has the most alien of all cultures with its pyramids and thusly, deserves an alien wheel cake. I’m not saying I buy what they are saying, I’m just playing the messenger.
Check out the following video for a news segment on this fine establishment. Just be aware that it is in Chinese so non-speakers are going to struggle with this clip.
ADDRESS 三重區正義南路60-2號, New Taipei City, Taiwan
TEL 0955 575 793