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Cake-Ya

If you thought that Port Moody was an unlikely place to find outstanding roti, then be prepared for more strangeness. Well, the fact that you can drive leisurely without fear of someone stealing your parking spot is probably odd enough; but hey, we're not in Richmond! Something straight out of "it should be on Robson Street", Cake-ya exists where you least expect it to be. Yes, it is a Japanese bakery/dessert shop located on the backside of the major thoroughfare (St. John's) on Clarke Street. It churns out delicious treats in an extremely non-descript storefront. There are 2 reasons I know this place exists. First, the good folks at Foodosophy told me so. Second, Guy Smiley treated me to a bunch of their Purin or Japanese pudding, which resembles a Creme Caramel; but is steamed, not baked. OMG, these cups of creamy awesomeness blew me away. The reason? I wanted to eat more of it, much more. The custard is smooth, only semi-sweet and the caramel sauce has depth with a beautiful burnt essence.

Other than the regular Custard, you can choose from Matcha, Coffee, Cheese, Black Sesame and Milk Tea. My favourites are the custard and cheese. The other flavours are indeed good, with an excellent infusion of flavours; but I'm somewhat partial to the more plain flavours. It is somewhat consistent with my love for vanilla ice cream and regular potato chips. Call me boring; but that's how I like it. The price for one Purin is $2.50 and if you get 6, it'll be somewhat cheaper at $13.99. If you do get 6, that is exactly the amount of flavours they have, so you can try them all this way.

Alas, Purin ain't the only thing going for this little bakery that could. I was hoping to try some of their freshly made Daifuku (or mochi balls stuffed with red bean paste); but they didn't have any. However, on a return visit, I was able to score some. Usually, one must call in ahead of time to reserved an order. It makes sense really. Nothing worse than leftover daifuku which will not be as soft as the day they are made. Furthermore, they cannot readily find the right sized strawberries for the daifuku. I got one each of the Strawberry Red Bean and Red Bean Chesnut. Unlike the prepackaged daifuku at T&T, the ones at here are a bit chewier. Not hard to eat by no means, it just has more elasticity to them. I personally like this over pillowy soft versions. The chunky red bean filling is sweet while not being too much so. I know this might sound strange, but I prefer the filling in the prepackaged versions because they are smoother. So, back to the original visit where I got a "Cheese Cake" and a Strawberry Cake Roll. Now I put the cheesecake in quotations because it is not the same as the North American version. With the addition of cornstarch, the cake becomes almost souffle-like. I enjoyed this particular one since it was not really all that sweet; thus I could get a nice cream cheese taste. Furthermore, the soft, creamy texture is just a delight to eat. As for the strawberry cake roll, that was another surprising treat. Simple looking, yet executed with care and delicateness, it was light to eat. The whipped cream is ever so airy and conservatively sweetened. The ripe strawberries are fresh and the cake, super soft and moist. With most Japanese food items, there is a certain delicateness and masterful attention-to-detail. This is more than evident with the products from Cake-Ya. Geez, there are some hidden gems out here in Port Moody. Wonder what we'll find next? Hmmm... Tune in tomorrow...

The Good:
- Delicately prepared treats (that are not overly reliant on sugar)
- Reasonably-priced
- The staff is super nice

The Bad:
- Well, it's in Port Moody, not exactly accessible for everyone
- Limited operating hours, it'll be closed before many can get to it
- Relatively small selection of items

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