Battle of the Purin: Cake Ya $2.50 vs Chez Suanne $1.25

Suanne is a very spendthrift. She always reminds me that I am lucky to have her as my wife or else I will need to have two jobs to maintain her. I agree!

We blogged about the Purin (Japanese pudding) from Cake Ya in this post about a month ago. The purin from Cake Ya, which they also called the Cream Caramel was really good. But we also find that it is very expensive. Each small cup of the purin from Cake Ya is $2.50.

Both Suanne and I thought that it should be cheap to make and to our surprise it was also easy to make too! The hardest part was finding the recipe.

Oh, I used the word “we” here because, ahem, yours truly had a hand in making this.


So what do you think of the purin above from Chez Suanne? This is only version 1.0 and given a bit more practice it would be as good as Cake Ya’s. Taste-wise the purin from Chez Suanne rocks.


Let’s compare the purin of Chez Suanne (left) vs Cake Ya (right).

Cake Ya’s professional version is $2.50 while Chez Suanne’s production cost is only about … 71 cents for each cup. Let’s for a moment ignore the looks department. What is the most important is the taste. I swear that Chez Suanne’s version taste really good and the texture smoother.

Tell me honestly, which would you prefer to do? Spend $2.50 or spend way less … like $1.25?

Alright, I had negotiated a deal with Chef Suanne for chowtimes readers … and sorry, this is for folks in Richmond only. Chez Suanne will be willing to sell you the Chez Suanne Purin Special for just $1.25 each. To sweeten the deal for you, she will throw in one free purin if you order five. 🙂

But wait … this gets better … it is free delivery to anywhere within Richmond.

And if you order within 24 months, Chez Suanne will not charge you the HST.

Seriously. How can one resist such a deal huh? If you want to try Chez Suanne’s purin, just send her an email ( or leave a comment stating your order.

Let’s see if Chez Suanne will “pak woo ying” (swatting flies) or this experiment will “bao pang” (burst the seams of the tent). LOL!


Suanne and I went to scour for the purin cups. We had been researching about purin in Japan and found that it is such a popular delicacy that they make plastic cups specifically for serving purins.

So we thought we could find them in Daiso in Aberdeen Center … and indeed we found them! Oh … they were expensive. That is even though Daiso is the Japanese equivalent of the dollar store except that their stuff is generally $2.00.

The cups above costs $2.00 and with taxes it came to $2.24. There are only five cups in the package. So you can imagine how expensive they are simply because they are imported.


We can’t read Japanese and hope someone could help by translating what the words above that is embossed at the bottom of the cup says. Anyone?

There is a little knob on the bottom of the cup. We figured it is for the release of the sauce which you’ll see in the picture instruction on the packaging. This is a one time use cup. Once the knob is broken, the cup can’t be used anymore.


For the price experiment, we used two types of cup; the one time used cup as above (left) and also the regular cup which I saved up from the Cake Ya (right).

For those of you who are bloody stingy and don’t want to spend $1.25 getting it from Chez Suanne (reminder: free Richmond delivery, no HST and buy-5-get-1-free) you can try to make it at home. Here it is:


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • butter to grease purin cup

Caramel Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water


The ingredients are very common pantry items. Here is our deduction:

Home-made purin cost for a recipe of 6:

  • sugar – $1.75
  • eggs – $1.00
  • milk – $0.50
  • purin cups – $2.70 (Daiso) or $1.00 (Dollar Store)
  • butter and vanilla extract: negligible
  • total cost for 6 is $4.25 (with cheaper Dollar Store cups)
  • one cup is about $0.71 each

So, it is way much cheaper to make at home. Moreover, if we do no use those one time used cup, the cost is down to about 60 cents each. The most expensive component of the costing above is the purin cups.


This recipe yields 6.


Japanese-Purin-3Butter individual purin cups.
Japanese-Purin-5To make the caramel sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of water in a sauce pan. Add 6 tablespoons of sugar and simmer until the sauce is browned. One the sugar starts to caramelized, it will turns brown very quickly, so, be watchful.
Japanese-Purin-23Add 1 tablespoon of warm water to thin the sauce. The caramel will bubble up when you add the water, so be careful.
Japanese-Purin-24Place a tablespoon of the caramel sauce into each of the greased purin cups.
Japanese-Purin-7Put milk in a medium sauce pan and heat to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Japanese-Purin-8Dissolve sugar in the milk.
Japanese-Purin-10Add vanilla extract. Remove from the stove to stop the heat.
Japanese-Purin-9Lightly beat eggs in a measuring cup or bowl.
Japanese-Purin-11Gradually add a ladle or two warm milk in the egg mixture, so as not to scramble the eggs.
Japanese-Purin-25Gradually add the egg mixture to the rest of the warm milk.
Japanese-Purin-12Run the egg mixture through a strainer.
Japanese-Purin-13Pour egg mixture over the caramel sauce in the purin cups.
Japanese-Purin-14Scoop out any bubbles from the surface of the egg mixture.
Japanese-Purin-15Place the purin cups in a steamer and steam for about 18 minutes on medium to medium-high heat. The purin should be set with a little jiggle.
Japanese-Purin-16Remove the purin cupss from the steamer and let them cool.
Japanese-Purin-17To remove the pudding from the mold, invert the cup on a plate. Press the little knob according to the direction of the arrow. This will allow air to get in and the caramel sauce will flow downward around the side of the pudding and thus releasing the pudding.
Japanese-Purin-18Remove the purin cup and enjoy.
Japanese-Purin-20For a regular plastic cup, invert the cup and used the sharp point of a pairing knife to poke a hole at the bottom of the cup to create the same effect as the purin cup.
Japanese-Purin-21The sauce will flow down and thus release the pudding.
Japanese-Purin-22The Japanese purin is very creamy and smooth.

This Post Has 46 Comments

  1. Lissa

    Wow, feel like making it tonight. No purin cups though.

  2. Chris

    Your cost shows 2 cups of milk cost CAD 20cents. Is there a typo? Or u better tell me where u shop!

    1. Ben

      Let’s do the math, Chris:

      A 4-litre bottle of milk is about $4.40. 1 US cup is defined as .23 litres. So that makes it … oh … 50 cents. Alright, Chez Suanne is now selling her Purin for $1.55, no longer $1.25! Whew! Thanks for pointing this out or else Chez Suanne would have made a loss in her venture.

      1. Ben

        Oh Chris. The calculation is still virtually correct. We rechecked the calculations. The 2 cups required (cost 50 cents) is used for making 6 cups of purin. So it is essentially a low cost component. We had updated the cost from 60 cents to 71 cents. Thereabouts! Ben

  3. fmed

    What no labour costs?! (Suanne’s time can’t be cheap.) And no amortization costs of your kitchen equipment?


    1. Ben

      Labour cost, fmed? Gosh, our cost is rising and eating into our margin. What’s the minimum wage these days? $10? And Training wage, $6 per hour? I’ll pay Suanne the training wage for now explaining that she is new to making this. I will up her wage after the 6 month training period. Suanne told me it take 30 mins to make it and 30 mins to steam it. So … that is a $6 hit to my margin. LOL! Ben

  4. Maggie

    Here in the southwestern U.S. and most of Latin America, we call what Chef Suanne made “flan”, though the latter is generally baked in the oven (in pan of water) rather than steamed on the stove top. See for a comparison of techniques. Needless to say, you can’t use those plastic purin cups in the oven, but need glass or ceramic ones instead.

    1. Kevin

      That’s what I was thinking too, I’m more familiar with this pudding being called flan.

  5. Ben

    OMG! OMG! Ka-ching! Ka-ching! LOL! Wo-hoo! Chez Suanne has received her first order for 10 purin!

    1. Marike


      I’m too cheap to order, but thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Crispy Lechon

    I’m a bit leery on using plastic cups from the dollar store. Not sure if its food safe to be used in steaming. Anyway Ben, if I order 10 purins (with free 2) can I get a refund on the Daiso cups when I return them? If not, I’ll order 6 first then give you back the empty Daiso cups and Suanne can make the next six using the same cups I returned and the cost will be minus the cups. Will that work? Cheap Lechon eh? LOL

    1. Ben

      🙂 It won’t work Crispy. The Daiso cups are single use cups. Once the knob is broken, it’s no good anymore. Unless of course we can do that on the cheap by taping the hole over with cellophane for ya. Anyway, we are sourcing some cups with lids (dollar stores does not include lids). I think it is cheaper if you make it in your own kitchen. Ben

      1. fmed

        You can just use a ceramic vessel like a ramekin. Slide a thin knife around the edges to release the vaccuum, and allow the pudding to slide out (etc.).

        1. Ben

          Good idea, fmed. Hey Crispy, why don’t you bring containers? We will deliver the purin on ramekins and pour that into your containers on the spot. For that we will deduct the cost of the plastic cups by 10 cents. Do we have a deal? 🙂 Ben

          1. fmed

            Take a ramekin deposit!

          2. Crispy Lechon

            Huh? Its actually 16.67 cents discount ($1.00/6) not 10 cents. Also, I dont have ramekins and Im too cheap to buy some. So can we just use these Chinese bowls?

          3. Fritz

            WOW!! Congratulations on pushing CHEAPNESS to a new low!

          4. Crispy Lechon


          5. Shmoo

            Hey, it’s eco-chic, too. No sense throwing out purin cups after each snack. 🙂

  7. BeefChowFun

    Everything looks good except the Vanilla.

    Do you like Purin better than Flan? I’ve only had a chance to eat flan, but they are both prepared similarly and with the same ingredients.

    1. Ben

      Hi BeefChowFun: Both flan and purin are the same to me. The purin post is just something fun to write about and to make. Ben

      1. BeefChowFun

        As an engineer I’m going to try to make Purin next time instead of Flan, b/c there is a lot of energy wasted to heat up an entire oven for a few ramekins.

        Thx for the recipe.

  8. Picolo

    Why is everyone so cheap? She’s basically not making any profit from this and is willing to deliver for free in Richmond. The purin looks amazing, and fyi the first order for 10 came from my brother. I wanted more but we didn’t want to bombard Suanne with too many orders.
    Thanks Suanne and Ben, keep up the good work =)

    1. Ben

      Hi Picolo: Thanks so much for the support. Suanne and I are doing it just for the fun of it and to share not just stories about food but also about the food too. Hehehe … Crispy was just fooling with us. Anyway, we have a bit of a plan around this so-called “Chez Suanne” project. 🙂 Ben

    2. Shmoo

      It looks awesome, I just don’t live in the delivery zone. 🙂

  9. Andy

    Easiest way to make creme caramel is with these packages. They’re very popular and everywhere in Central America. HAd lots of these when I was growing up in Costa Rica.

    1. Gloria

      WuMu also has a creme caramel. It is very easy to use and sold locally. Of course, not as good as the home made style but convenient. Just need to make your own caramel.

      1. Ben

        Hi Gloria: What or where is WuMu?

        1. Gloria

          It is a brand, they make lots of instant noodles/dry noodles. I purchase this from a vegetarian store in the lower level, at the 1st Ave. T&T.
          I recall seeing this sold somewhere else but I do not remember.
          Kuo Hua may have this or something similar but I am not sure.

  10. Gloria

    I would recommend using a higher fat percentage milk (or mix with lower fat milk). They will turn out more creamy taste.
    I make these all the time at home during the summer~

  11. Jenny

    I tried this before, but over steamed it, yours looks really good :). Too bad I live far from Richmond :(.

  12. Maggie

    I just remembered that sometimes Costco in Arizona will sell a mega-flan (serves 16-20 large portions) a few weeks before Cinco de Mayo (Mexican holiday on May 5). If they do so this year, I will check it out to see what they charge and how much it weighs. If Suanne can beat the cost per serving there, we know it’s a rock bottom price.

    1. Ben

      Hi Maggie:

      We wanted to buy the Giga Pudding to try it out but everywhere we looked they are sold out … and they are super expensive ($30+)! Here is what the Giga Pudding looks like. It is equivalent to 20 normal servings.

      I don’t think our Costco will have the mega-flan but size wise I think the mega-flan is similar to the wildly popular Giga Pudding. I hope they sell it in the costco in Washington state because if they do, I will make a trip just to buy it. 🙂


      1. Maggie

        Costco’s is flatter, but with a much greater diameter that what is pictured. The advantage of this is that there is a larger caramelized top and lot more sauce. I do remember the Costco price as being less that $20, but not the exact amount.

  13. Elaine

    I demand knowing the calories per purin before ordering LMAO

    1. Ben

      Hi Elaine:

      Here it is:
      2 cups milk: 220 calories
      2/3 cup sugar: 510 calories
      4 eggs: 320 calories
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract: 12 calories
      butter to grease purin cup: 2 calories
      6 tablespoons sugar: 288 calories
      2 tablespoons water: 0 calories

      Total calories for six purins: 1132 calories
      Total calories for one purin: 188 calories.

      So, how many purins are you ordering? 🙂


      1. Elaine

        I will order 6 =) contact you via email!

  14. Kat

    Thank you so much for posting the recipe and the purin action shot in your other post! Since I’m in Ontario, I cannot place and order with Chez Suanne, but I will gladly try out the recipe 🙂

    Too bad y’all are not in the GTA. It’d be great to read your reviews of the area’s restaurants.

    Thanks again!

  15. Lissa

    I tried this recipe today using ramekins and bowls. Needed another 15 mins on low heat to cook. Not a bad dessert but a bit too sweet for me.

  16. Nancy

    I liked your post, the purin looks SOOOOO good =). Do you know how to make Japanese cream puffs or Japanese cheesecake? If so, I will be a regular customer of yours :p
    Good luck on your endeavours!

    1. Ben

      Hi Nancy: Hehehe … I wish the proprietor of Chez Suanne would jump in here and answer your question! I am an interested party too. Ben

  17. Miho

    Wow! you got the purin cups with knob! I was wrong!

  18. yeny

    i love daiso cuz i love cute stuff.. i know it’s very cute with the purin cup. but i’m not so sure about pouring hot caramel into a plastic cup though. i think i’ll use regular ramekins. but it’s a good tip for the milk. never know that i need to check the temp 🙂 i’ll give it a try next time.

  19. Jessica

    Hello! I cannot read the last part of the Japanese but the beginning says something along the lines of “place face down on dish.” I think the Japanese is just instructing you on how to release the purin when you have finished steaming it.

  20. Cavin

    Hi, do you know the exact name of the purin cups? Or can you tell me the name of the manufacturer? I’ve been trying to search everywhere online and in Australia. I couldn’t find them. Thanks.

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