A very long time ago, I tried some macarons, the French dessert, at a chain shop in neighborhood. While they were very tasty, I have since been always wanting more of this succulent and decadent dessert.
With that in mind, I was very pleased to learn about a small local shop that specializes in desserts, and in particular, macaron. The shop, Hyang-E Nan Dang (which translates as Fragrant) is a small shop in the eastern region of Ulsan, which is a fair drive from my home.
Considering that it was a long drive, timewise, I was really hoping that the macaron would be tasty.
Upon seeing the outside of the shop, my first thought is that it was quite small. Inside, the store was nice and clean, with only a small table.
There were also some very cute and fun nick knacks there as well as some celebration items for sale, and I enjoyed looking at them before looking at the desserts that the shop sold.
The owner was very friendly, and I could see from the kitchen in the back, where a mixer was preparing some meringue to make more macarons was working, that this was where all the magic happened.
The display case had some really wonderful looking treats in them, include two specially decorated cakes.
The macarons though were the reason I was there, and after looking at the display case, I chose eight, yes EIGHT different varieties to explore the range of flavors Hyang-E Nan Dang offered.
The eight flavors I chose were: Oreo; Salted Vanilla; My Mother is an Alien; Red Velvet; Fresh Milk; Jeju Matcha Chocolate Chip; Raspberry; and Lemon.
Now, you make think that there are some unusual names in the list, and you would be correct! Don’t worry though, I’ll explain them all soon!
After making the journey home, it was time to try the different macaron. (Full disclosure, it took me four evenings to try them all, because it would be too much sugar to eat all in one evening!)
The eight macarons looked lovely in the box, but it was time to unwrap each one and give them a try.
The first two I decided to try were the Oreo and the Raspberry.
The macaron from Hyang-E Nan Dang have the meringue in a seashell design, and the cream in between the meringue cookies is very thick, often with different extras.
The Oreo macaron absolutely lived up to its name. There was crushed Oreo cookie on the outside of the cream, and the combination of the cookie bits and the cream really made think I was eating the world’s best Oreo cookie! This one was delicious and gets a definite recommendation from me.
Next was the Raspberry flavor. This was just as good, and maybe even better, than the Oreo macaron. The raspberry flavor was rich and full, and it really tasted like fresh raspberries, not some sort of strange chemical that you might get from a raspberry candy.
On the following day, it was time to try two more flavors. This time I decided to try the Jeju Matcha Chocolate Chip, and the Lemon.
The Jeju Matcha Chocolate Chip had a wonderful green hue to it. It was amply loaded with chocolate chips, and after biting into it, I was able to taste a very earthy, green tea flavor to this macaron. This one was my least favorite of the macaron. The flavor was very unusual for such a sweet dessert, and I find that green tea in desserts is a very acquired taste.
Next up was the Lemon, and this one was my favorite of all eight. With a perfect blend of tartness and sweetness, it really reminded me of a lemon meringue pie that I had eaten in San Francisco once. This macaron even looked like it had little bit of lemon pie filling on the outside of the cream, and I was so sad once I had finished this one.
Day three brought two more flavors, the Fresh Milk, and the fascinatingly named My Mother is an Alien.
The Fresh Milk macaron was wonderful. The cream in the middle really did taste like fresh, clean milk, and the texture was very creamy and has a wonderful, natural, sweetness to it.
The next macaron, My Mother is an Alien, borrows its name from an ice cream flavor from Baskin Robbins here in Korea (interestingly, the name is only the translation from Korean, as at Baskin Robbins the English name is very different!).
This macaron was a perfect replication of the ice cream it is named after and had an absolutely gorgeous mixture of chocolate and vanilla ice cream flavors, but without the ice cold. This one was also excellent, and despite the unique name, was something I would definitely want to eat again.
The last two macaron that I tried were the Red Velvet and the Salted Vanilla. I’m not sure if it was because the last day, but these two were quite underwhelming.
The Red Velvet macaron had a nice chocolate flavor, and of course a rich, deep red for the color of the meringue cookies, but compared to many of the others I had sampled it didn't taste that special.
The Salted Vanilla was similar to the Red Velvet in that it was underwhelming. I could taste a bit of the saltiness in this, but the vanilla flavor was not really evident.
Hyang-E Nan Dang does offer a wide assortment of macaron flavors. Having had the opportunity to sample so many of these sweet, tasty treats, I can almost guarantee that anyone with a sweet tooth will find something that they enjoy at this boutique dessert shop. For me, the most delicious were the Lemon and Raspberry, followed by the Fresh Milk and Oreo. The rest were nice, but those four were the ones I would order first if I were to return to this macaron and dessert shop.