Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Products & Services

Contain information of our trials and feed backs from our product experience

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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老店名饼-荣成娘惹月饼 Yong Sheng Nyonya Mooncake

Posted by gill gill On September - 21 - 20101 COMMENT

一年一度的中秋节落在这个星期三, 先祝各位读者和网友中秋节快乐!

去了gurney plaza走了一圈, 本来不打算买月饼的我, 看着看着那些五花八门的促销, 心也动了 😀

我一眼就看上了这个怀旧娘惹的包装, 特别有feel, 于是我们和售货员要了些sample试吃.

Brochure 封面

以下有 “Tick” 是我们所买的特色月饼.

天山紫薯 Moon Light Kiss Moon Cake – 用日本紫蕃薯做馅, 有蕃薯香味…不错不错

经典娘惹 Passion for Life Moon Cake – 这个是不辣版本, 有创意…可一试.

潮州梅冬菜饼 – 又咸又甜的配搭, 很有趣.

蛋黄酥 Egg Yolk Pies – 这个是他们得奖之作,  内馅入口即容, 的确有水准.

娘惹叁曼月饼 Nyonya Sambal Moon Cake – 这个和经典娘惹相似, 但是辣版…虾米味香. 值得一试.

这家从柔佛州出品的月饼的确给我们惊喜,所以我才放上网推荐. 不妨一试 😀

http://yongsheng.com.my/

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Kitchen Works: Fish Curry Prawns For Diner?

Posted by Jason Wong On August - 3 - 20096 COMMENTS

Last Thursday, there was an impromptu request to cook dinner; on the list were the aging prawns in our freezer. As prawns were not that fresh, the method would then be something that can over come this problem. The easiest way out would be curry, but the paste that we have was only for fish.

First thing I did was to shell the prawns and “freshen up” them with some sugar and corn flour. Then to the hot oil they go. The prawns were deep fried until just cooked so that any fishy taste would not affect the curry.

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Before cooking the curry, we had to prepare some other additional such as onions, lemongrass and fresh tomato. The curry paste that we used was the fish curry paste from Mak Nyonya. The curry paste had a strong spice aroma, and lemongrass was quite predominant.

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To begin cooking the curry gravy, I started to brown the chopped onions in the pot and oil used to fry the prawns earlier.

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After the chopped onions were browned, they were transferred to another pot for further cooking process. Do not wash the frying pot, add some water to deglaze the pot and keep the sweet juices left by the prawns and onions.

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In the new pot, put in the julienne onions and lemongrass and begin aromatise them in hot oil.

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After the onions and lemongrass begin to emit their fragrances, add in the curry paste and continue stirring.

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While still aromatising the curry paste, pour in the deglazed juices from the earlier pot. Remember not to pour everything at one go, too much would dilute the curry paste and flavours.

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After the paste has reached the right consistency (according to what you like) and have begin to emit the curry fragrance, then it is time to add the coconut milk. No fresh coconut milk was available, so boxed type had to suffice. Boxed coconut milk does not have the taste and essentials that fresh coconut milk has.

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The second last step is to pour in the tomatoes wedges.

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After the tomatoes have softened, it is time to let the prawns join the curry gravy and let them soak up the spice and fragrance of the curry gravy ingredients.

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The curry prawns’ textured was not bad although they have been kept in the freezer for almost six months. The sugar and corn flour helped to firm them up. The freezer was also played an important role. The taste of the curry was spicy with slight sweetness in it. Other than the curry prawns, we also had roast duck brought all the way from KL. The roast duck was sweet and tender although it had been on the road for a few hours.

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Old Ways of Life: Handmade Mee Koo at Hoe Peng

Posted by Jason Wong On July - 7 - 200914 COMMENTS

We all talk about preserving the historical building, endangered animals, etc. But why don’t we also put in more effort to promote and support our locally unique heritage hand-made products and traditional trades. In this competitive world many trades have turn to mass production through new technology, but through this change we have loss the rich character of hand-made products that was once the pride of our country and culture.

Hand made “Mee Koo” (in Hokkien) or “Steamed Turtle Buns”  are one of the example of these dying trades in Malaysia. The Mee Koo are linked and used in Chinese festive celebrations and cultural ceremonies. Now a day, many have turn the age old manufacturing process by hand to mechanised manufacturing lines. But then who am I to say they are wrong to change, they still need to put rice on the table at this competitive times. As a marketing consultant, I advocate change to create a competitive edge to overcome obstacles and competition. But sometimes a total change would have created more harm than good. Therefore, we would need to consider the many angles that affect our change. Sometimes, partial change or improvements can do more good and than full conversions.

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Hoe Peng & Co. is one of the examples of partial change that help them survive through the test of time. In the old days when one thinks of Mee Koo in Penang, Hoe Peng’s buns would be the first to come to mine. They not only churn out their famous Mee Koo but also “Siew Thou” (in Hokkien) or “Longevity Buns”, “Thou Sar Pheah” or “Green Bean Biscuits” and some Chinese folk lore prayer items that are used in Taoist ceremonies.

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“Siew Thou” or Longevity Buns

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“Tho Sar Pheah” or Green Bean Biscuit

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Assorted Taoist Ceremonies Prayers Items

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As our society, is ever influenced by the western culture and its dining practice, many have forgotten about the versatile Mee Koo. We have forgotten one could the Mee Koo as it is, with butter and kaya, dunk in a cup of hot Kopi ‘O’, made into French toast, or even used as a coating for fish n’ chips (that is my own recipe). Thus, it is due time to give our traditionally unique Mee Koo recognition and respect.

Some weeks ago we were honoured to be given the opportunity to visit and have a peek into the Mee Koo making process at Hoe Peng & Co.’s kitchen. Hoe Peng & Co. was previously located in a corner shop lot just beside “Ong Kongsi” and opposite the once tallest building in Malaysia, Komtar. Currently they have moved to a new location on Lorong Selamat where just opposite the famous “Lorong Selamat Char Koay Teow”. It is now under the umbrella of Cheong Kim Chuan, who has been a household name in Penang and also Malaysia since 1937. They are one of the producers and retailers of our famous and much sort after nutmeg products, “belacan”, “Rojak” sauce, Tambun Biscuit (Tau Sar Pneah) and other traditional Malaysian food and non-food products.

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Our visit started with a tour of their Mee Koo making kitchen where we were introduced to its production executive and food tech, and then we were briefed on the Mee Koo making process. The process from flour to Mee Koo has in all 5 stages, fermenting, kneading, and moulding, proofing and finally steaming. All of these were used to be done by hand, but as technology touch down our shore of Malaysia many years ago, they have converted the mixing and kneading to a mechanical process by introducing mixing, kneading and press machines.

The initial stage of flour mixing and fermenting is a business secret which we did not cover. We begun on the the kneading process, the objective is to churn out dough that has a consistent and equal composition.

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After the dough has reached the right consistency, it is then transferred to another machine where the dough is repeatedly passed through rollers to press the dough. This machine compresses the dough so that they reach a specific elasticity before it is sent to the human hands for moulding.

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The common Mee Koo has two layers, the inner one is the main white bun and the outer pink or yellow layer is the skin that encases the white fluffy bun. At Hoe Peng & Co. the outer coloured layer is edible due to the food grade colouring used to churn out the dough.

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At Hoe Peng, the tradition of hand moulding of the dough to the specific weight and shape are kept like when it was done many years ago. The dough is hand cut down to size and weighed, wrapped, moulded, and placed on the base paper which also serves as the branding of the Mee Koo.

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After the Mee Koo dough is all prepped up, it is placed on a bamboo tray and left to proof or set before they are sent for steaming.  The proofing stage is a important stage where it also determines the texture of the end product. There is set time for proofing, but it mainly relies on the experience nad touch of the food tech to determine the duration required. The uncooked doughs are touch and squeezed to determine the ripeness because due to the ever floating temperature and humidity of our Malaysian climate, the Mee Koo proofing time would fluctuate.

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After the Mee Koo is steamed and cooked, it is place on sale at the counter out side the retail outlet. As you are wondering how do they write the Chinese characters on the Mee Koo for the festive and cultural ceremonies? They are all hand ‘written’ upon request or order. This part of the mee koo is not edible because the dough used in writing the Chinese characters have not been cooked or steamed. They are actually raw dough with added colouring. The process of preparing the coloured dough is also hand-worked to the right texture and elasticity.

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All the characters on every Mee Koo are hand ‘written’ using the traditional method that has been used since Hoe Peng & Co. opened it is doors for business years ago. The writing process is very laboured intensive and tedious. Imagine during the festive seasons and hundreds or thousands of orders that require specified Chinese characters to suit the occasion, I pity the person who has to ‘write’ all those characters. But I also admire the person for keeping the tradition alive for our future generations to experience and see.

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Thus, as a Penangite I would like ask my fellow Malaysians regardless of the race and religion to put in support for our heritage products, trades, etc in the form of consuming and patronising them. Give the support in terms business so that they can get to survive the test of time and leave a piece of history, culture and character for our future generation that they will be proud of. Heritage is not only in the form of buildings and artefacts, but also the way of life, cuisines that were savoured by our forefathers, etc.

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Rainforest Bakery, That is What I Call a Bakery.

Posted by Jason Wong On June - 1 - 200915 COMMENTS

It was a sunny morning somewhere in March this year that we were invited to interview the owners of an unique bakery located on the busy Chulia Street in the Georgetown area, Rainforest Bakery. The bakery has been in operations since year 2000/2001 which at those days were only supplying their breads wholesale to eateries, etc. But as time goes by and from the request of their ‘door-knocking’ customers, Rainforest began to plan for a retail outlet which was finally materialised at its current location on Chulia Street in year 2008. At Rainforest, one could see that customers from all walks of life and nationality wondering and choosing their pick of the day from the selection of continental breads that are baked daily.

At current the bakery is being managed by a pair of identical twins, Jerry and Jesse Tan(short spiky hair do). Jesse whom entertained our question and answer session was actually MIA from Rainforest Bakery for approximately 3 years not for fun, but to work in London and travel around Europe to acquire the skills and knowledge that they require to differentiate their breads from the localised bakeries and to provide better and healthier loafs of wholesome organic breads to its patrons. The daily fresh baked loafs uses the traditional or organic methods of preparing the dough for each individual type of bread that they offer today. Organic does not only mean that the ingredients are organic, even the preparation and baking process must be organic in every way that is what sets them apart from the rest. What they are selling at the bakery is not only bread, but also the concept of healthy organic traditionally baked and non-localised bread.

The daily fresh baked loafs uses the traditional or organic methods of preparing the dough for each individual type of bread that they offer today. Organic does not only mean that the ingredients are organic, even the preparation and baking process must be organic in every way and that is what sets them apart from the rest. Enjoy with assurance that no preservative, no MSG or enhancers and no essence are use in their bread. Even the yeast they used is self-cultured!

Not only the ingredients and baking take on the traditional concept, the packing or wrapping of certain breads also takes on the original ways that were used to pack them for customers which are still practiced in certain parts of the baking world.

Other than bread, one would also be enticed by their cakes, muffins and cookies that are on display at the bakery.

And if you need to add some savoury or sweetness to the bread that was just picked from the rack, you could also try out their homemade Kaya and Garlic Butter spread.

Their current business caters to the retail walk-in customers, wholesale deliveries to restaurant and hotels, and also residential home if it is located on the delivery routes. Other than the current retail outlet, there are also plans to expand their business by setting up their own branch. They are not looking into franchise because they want their Rainforest Bakery breads to be made fresh  and to keep the quality in check so as not disappoint their customers.

Average rating for this place:

  • 3.8/5 for value ( it would be a bit on the high side but the quality is what you are looking for, it is place to try out)
  • 4.0/5 for taste & texture (certain individuals may not be receptive to the kind of bread taste & texture.)
  • 4.0/5 for service (friendly and accommodating)
  • 4.2/5 for cleanliness ( everything is kept closed and clean)
  • 3.9/5 for atmosphere (what bakeries should smell of and feel like)

Address : 300 Lebuh Chulia, 10200 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact :+ 60 (4) 261 4641
Opening Hours : 10.00am-10.00pm (Closed Sunday)

enclosed with their in-house brochures

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Penang Delicacies-Joez Coconut Jelly

Posted by Jason Wong On May - 27 - 200910 COMMENTS

We have heard and read much about the new fad in town, Coconut Jelly. Thus, during the Labour Day weekend after much request from our church members, we organised a ‘makan’ trip in the Georgetown and Tanjung Tokong area. And for the finally of the trip we brought them to the current food fad, Coconut Jelly, located in one of the old districts on the Penang Island. 

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Legend has it that the trend started from here at Joez Coconut.  This Joez Coconut, under another business name, traditionally sells coconut base products like the refreshing coconut juice, coconut milk, etc. But after the son of the proprietor and yours truly, Joel Jeyachandran took over the business from his dad they begun to venture into producing and selling the now famous coconut jelly.

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The coconut jelly is produced by heating and cooling the coconut fruit whole, no sugar or other chemicals and preventives are added. But sometimes a small amount of sugar would be added if the coconut fruit is too young or the meat is not ripe enough which would produce a sour end to this otherwise refreshing dessert.  As the product is without any preservative, therefore it must be refrigerated to ensure that it can last at least 5 days.

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The end product of the secretly kept recipe is a very smooth and silky pure coconut nectar jelly with fragrant coconut aroma and sweet flavor of ‘Pandan’. If luck is on your side, you might also get to scavenge mouthful of rich coconut flesh with every spoonful of jelly.

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Add: 201, Jalan Dato Kramat, 10150 Penang, Malaysia.

Tel. : 604-229 6063, 016-440 9049 

Business ours: 11.00am-7.00pm daily.

Tips: If you take it fresh it would have a hint of Pandan. But if kept in the fridge for few days more the coconut jelly would develop a much richer taste with a stronger nutty taste. Be sure chilled it thoroughly before savouring it.



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Sipa Cous Cous

Posted by Jason Wong On October - 27 - 2008ADD COMMENTS

This cous cous was brought back by my Auntie who worked for contract basis in Saudi Arabia.

Well, as i asked her a favour to buy some local foods for us to try out, and she brought back alot of spices and Middle East local product, like: Big Dates, Olive in Can, Masala, Kebab Marinate Spices, Hummus…etc

This cous cous is just something similiar to what we can get in malaysia. nothing special.


But the packaging has definately gives me “Made in Saudi” feeling with the Camel Graphic…Haa.

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