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Teow Chew | Gourmet Garden

Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Teow Chew

Early September, we received a packaged sent through courier service from Guan Heong Biscuit, a biscuit shop in Ipoh Perak that was established in 1918 by the Mr. Sitt Kun Shan. After being first approached by their 4th generation proprietor in waiting in mid-August to sample and write about their traditional and hand-made signature biscuits and their Hokkien and Teochew mooncakes, we were eager to experience them especially after knowing that they are 5 years shy of being a century old and still being run by the descendants of Sitt Kun Shan. Part of our conservation work is to encourage the younger generations to inherit and carry on the various trades that made up the heritage and culture of what Malaysia was built on.

Mr. Sitt Kun Shan, who was born and brought up in a baker’s family from Zhen Jiang, China, came to Malaya during the third wave of mass human migration in the early 19th century from China, where there was turmoil and displacement. Leaving behind the land he once calls home, he made his way to Malaya (now Malaysia) during an era of economic boom due to tin mining. And in 1918, Sitt Kun Shan established Guan Heong, the first bakery shop in Ipoh New Town. The name Guan Heong roughly translates to “original flavours” from Hokkien, to serve original and high quality tasting pastry to customers. And it is this philosophy that guides this age old Chinese bakery business until the present day to continue present fresh pastry using high quality ingredients, no artificial flavouring and most importantly hand-made. Currently, Guan Heong is being manned by its third generation proprietor, Sitt Hock Lye who inherited it from Sitt You Zhu.

Guan Heong produces and sells Heong Pheah, Pong Pheah, Salted Tau Sar Pheah, peanut candy, sweet sesame crispies, sweet rice crispies, Lo Poh Peang (wedding biscuits) and mooncakes amongst many. Their traditional Hokkien and Teochew mooncakes were once featured by the The Star newspaper back in the year 2007. But through the efforts of its current third generation proprietor, Sitt Hock Lye with his better half further diversify their product range by including Meat Floss Biscuit, Dried Meat Biscuit, pineapple rolls and nutty cookies some 10 year ago (2003), which have further further carved out a name for Guan Heong in and around Ipoh.

Their signature biscuit series include  the Floss with Lotus Paste, Floss with Lotus Pastes and Salted Egg and Dried Pork a.k.a Bakkwa, which shares a similar pastry base that is layered, puffed and flaky. If the biscuits were to be warmed up in a preheated oven for at least 7.5 minutes it would have crisp texture. The oven should be fired up to 170 degrees C for 5 minutes, before loading the biscuits in it with the power (heater) off for 7.5 to 10 minutes. As for the fillings, each individual variation has their own distinctive flavour profile on top of the sweet and savoury taste combination, and Guan Heong are not stingy on the generosity of the fillings. They run out of stock easily, so to avoid disappointment call to book them for pick-up or have them delivered to your doorstep, minimum order 6 boxes with a postal charge of RM 12.60 (depending on prevailing rates).

Floss with Lotus Paste biscuit, filled to brim with savoury sweet meat floss and fragrant lotus paste that balances in terms of sweetness and savouriness. 

Floss with Lotus Pastes and Salted Egg biscuit, filled with “pandan” scented earthy lotus paste, meaty sweet floss and rich and creamy sandy salted duck egg yolk. The egg yolk delivers a rich and exotic taste into the biscuit.

Bak Kua (Chinese pork jerky slices) biscuit, sweet and smoky slices of pork jerky with a hint of meatiness plastered with conventional lotus paste and encased in a crisp and earthy pastry.

Apart from their signature biscuits, we were also introduced to their traditional Hokkien and Teochew mooncakes which are available not only during the mid-autumn festivities but all year round, however pre-ordering is required. Their Hokkien Mooncake has a crusty pastry topped with sesame seeds and filled with winter melon, melon seeds, nuts, dried orange peel, fried shallots and flavoured with Chinese five spice. It was sweet and tangy with a hint of nuttiness, but at the same time with a bit savouriness from the five spice.

Teochew Mooncake on the other hand has a puffy and layered pastry filled with the similar ingredients as of the Hokkien mooncake except there is no Chinese Five Spice. Contributing the savouriness into the Teochew mooncake is the ‘Mui Choy’ (Chinese preserved salted vegetable). It is sweet and savoury with a sticky filling inside, and fragrant and flaky outside.

Both the Hokkien and Teochew mooncakes require an acquired taste by some extend to really enjoy the flavours and texture of the two, but the flavours grow with every bite. For those who are less adventurous, you could try their more common mooncakes which are available for mid-autumn festival. One of these mooncakes is the Shanghainese Mooncake with a reduced sweetness to meet the health-conscious trend, the mooncakes stands out because the pastry case is crumbly like that of a soft crust pineapple tart, and less greasy as compared to the usual mooncake pastry. The fillings inside include sweet earthy lotus paste, nutty melon seeds and rich and salty fragrant salted duck egg yolk.

Other than these exotic mooncakes, Guan Heong also makes and bakes classic flavoured mooncakes like lotus paste, mixed nuts, red bean, etc.  This year, they have developed some new varieties for this year’s mid-autumn (Mooncake) festival, which includes Bak Kua with lotus, red dates, etc.

To avoid disappointment, visit them early or call them to book your favourite mooncakes before they run out of stock for this season as they are all manually hand-made to preserve their pastry making traditions. Guan Heong caters to postal deliveries to place all over Peninsular Malaysia, we had ours delivered to our doorstep well packaged to ensure no contamination of sorts.

 

Guan Heong Biscuit Shop
No.160, Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street)
30000 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: 05-241 2399 / 016-535 6990 / 017-573 6277
GPS: N4 35.601 E101 05.026
Business hours: Mondays to Saturdays 9am to 7pm & Sundays 9.30am to 3pm
 
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