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Mahjong Community Spotlight: Food Mapping

A while back we wrote a blog on mahjong cakes. Beautiful, intricate, and colorful cakes inspired by mahjong. Today, we are going to take a closer look at one of the mahjong cake bakers in Singapore: Food Mapping.


Food Mapping takes mahjong cakes to a totally new level. Their cakes are not the usual cake with layers of baked cake layers or even sponge cake. These cakes are made of agar agar, a vegetable based gelatin. Let's get into the interview so you can find out more about these intricate agar agar cakes!


MJParty:

Welcome to our Mahjong Community Spotlight! I am really excited about this interview as I just love your agar agar cakes. Let's start off by having you tell us how long you have been baking for.


Food Mapping:

Food Mapping has been around for 15 years and we specialize in agar agar cakes. I have been making agar agar for 5 years now.


MJParty:

What inspired you to be a baker and what inspired you to make the mahjong cakes?


Food Mapping:

It was mainly a challenge that started it all. I was told that agar agar and agar agar designs can only be made from moulds that are available in the market already. And I wanted to change that, I do a lot hand crafted designs that do not have moulds readily available. Like the stand alone “發” mahjong tile that is completely made of agar agar.


I wanted to create very different designs using agar agar and not just stick to using moulds. The mahjong design was originally requested by a customer because their parent like to play mahjong and what better design to have than a 發 mahjong tile.


MJParty:

Let's show our viewers what the 發 mahjong tile looks like. For the viewers that do not play mahjong, the green symbol on the cake represents the Green Dragon tile from mahjong. In Cantonese, it is spelled faat3 coi4 or casually as Fat Choi. Some viewers may be familiar with Fat Choi Spirit, a mahjong movie with Andy Lau, often heralded as the best mahjong movie made. It also means prosperity. Here it is below on Food Mapping's cake:





MJParty:

How much work is it to make an agar agar cake?


Food Mapping:

It’s a lot of work because each layer/portion has to be hardened before applying another layer on top of it. Moreover, agar agar cannot be shaped by hand as it starts off in a liquid state and can only be used after it has hardened. There is a lot of thinking that goes into how to produce certain shapes and designs. There is almost no videos or content available to learn methods or processes used by other bakers. The challenge comes when costumers want a 3D forklift, or Thomas the Train figurine, where there is no moulds available in the market.


MJParty:

They are so intricate do they have to be chilled after each layer?


Food Mapping:

Yes, the layers need to be hardened before applying the next layer on top of the previous.


MJParty:

Here is a great example of the amount of layers Food Mapping puts into their cakes. It is a lot of work to pour a layer, let it chill, color the next layer and pour it, and continuously do that to get this effect. How impressive!




MJParty:

What is your connection to mahjong?


Food Mapping:

Our customers used to be from an elderly crowd. Most of them like to gamble and/or play mahjong. We needed to create a mahjong design and even a 4D ticket design to satisfy the demand for it.




MJParty:

What got you thinking about making cakes from agar agar?


Food Mapping:

My mum has been making agar agar cakes since I was very young. I wanted to continue the tradition and at the same time try to attract and provide more designs for kids to enjoy agar agar as well.


MJ Party:

If someone would like to order a mahjong cake, how far in advance should they place their order?


Food Mapping:

They can contact us via whatsapp at (65) 90686047 to place an order or if they have any inquiries, 3 days prior to the date of collection.


MJParty:

Who are the main customers ordering the mahjong cakes - hotels, families, event venues?


Food Mapping:

Our mahjong agar agar cakes have been mostly enjoyed in family birthday gatherings. But because we have so many designs, we are able to cater to all age groups from toddlers to elderly birthdays, various festive celebrations, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Teacher’s Day and even Deepavali.




MJParty:

Some readers might not be familiar with agar agar or only have tasted it in almond jelly or coconut jelly desserts. What can someone expect to taste when then try your mahjong cake?


Food Mapping:

We continue to use coconut milk as our base flavour as my mum started making agar agar from home a good 30 years ago with coconut milk. We like to preserve that tradition but at the same time we innovate and improve the variety we have.


In our mahjong agar agar cakes, customers can expect a smooth coconut taste, that is not overpowering but fragrant at the same time. They can expect a crunchy texture and a perfect level sweetness, that’s not too sweet. Customers can also have our agar agar with fresh fruits, chendol, coffee, or even request to have it in soya milk, fresh milk. As we try to constantly improve our variety, do check out our social media. We will be producing all new flavours very soon that have been never been done or even tried in the world of agar agar.


MJParty:

That is really amazing! Thanks for joining us for this Spotlight. If you want to follow Food Mapping, you can find them on their links below.









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