Green Bean Paste in Fluffy Pastry

I never eat tau sar pneah because I am a Penangite. And I cannot remember the last time I bought nutmeg.
These two local produce are synonymous with Penang. And tourist or outstation visitor to the island of Penang will often buy these as gifts and remembrances of this foodie paradise.
Over the years, tau sar pneah has become the perfect gift if I don’t know what to get friends who come to visit. My aunt, who lives in KL, comes home with a long list of food to buy for her colleagues in KL and these inevitably would include the very famous tau sar pneah.
Like char kueh teow, tau sar pneah is a bit overrated. I enjoy the occasional piece (I remembered gorging on them for breakfast when I was in HK many years ago. It sort of reminded me of home for a while) and three pieces is all I can stomach.
Have you heard about the famous tau sar pneah maker in Penang who does not entertain walk-in customers? I think this is not untrue rather it reflects on Penangites’ snottiness – how business is so good that they cannot, simply cannot let you buy their tau sar pneah off the shelves. You must order in advance, otherwise no biscuits for you.
When speaking of tau sar pneah (Hokkien for green bean biscuit), two famous brands come to mind – Him Heang and Ghee Hiang. Ghee Hiang makes very good sesame seed oil too (yes, the brand with the baby).
But there are no-brand tau sar pneah which taste as good too, if not better. It’s just like the Penang Road cendol stall. Incidentally, there are 2 cendol stalls, one on each side of the narrow road. Yet, the one of the right always teems with customers while the one on the left has less! Is there any difference? I gave the poor left stall a try once and I could not taste the difference! The cendol is as lemak and as sweet as the famous one on the other side.
So what gives? People are attracted to people and the more people/customers one stall has over the other, light bulbs go off in these people’s heads. “Ha, it means the cendol over here is the famous one mah, so must taste better than the other side right?” I hope you will try the cendol from the other stall and let me know your views the next time you are in Penang.
But Ghee Hiang makes their tau sar pneah with lard.
If you have Muslim friends or friends who are vegetarians or those who cannot stand lard, there is tau sar pneah made with vegetable oil and thus halal. I usually get my supply from this tau sar pneah shop called Wee Ling which is halal (Wee Ling is in front of Bkt Jambul Complex). You can also buy halal tau sar pneah from this other shop in Air Itam, near the old market if you can’t get it from Wee Ling.

11 thoughts on “Green Bean Paste in Fluffy Pastry”

  1. I agree! The “other” stall down Pg Road is just as good! But like you said, people attract people-ma… especially when it comes to food… hehehehhe….

  2. I agree! The “other” stall down Pg Road is just as good! But like you said, people attract people-ma… especially when it comes to food… hehehehhe….

  3. Ghee Hiang has really made it into the big times. My MIL thinks they’re overrated nowadays and will buy from other shops. I think there’s one called Eaton.

  4. I like the occassional tau sar phneah too. However as the proverbial goes, “too much of a good thing will result in the depreciation of its value” I was a short-term Penangite in the 1980’s and will dutifully bring back one or two boxes when I return home in betweens. However, I do not have a brand which I endorsed in particular. Like Maya puts it, there are other ‘undiscovered gems’ who are just as good. Yes, brand sells but brand too carries a premium. Enjoy the tau sar phneah!

  5. dun buy tao sar piah for me yar…
    i dun eat tao sar piah, as i found it is very very sweet, i wish they can always cut down the sweetness… i know there are pandan flavor, any greentea flavor now? hehehe… i prefer hiong peng, the beh teh soh (hokkien) the crunchy skin and sticky wheat sugar inside…

  6. Hi Lydia: Yes, Eaton is in Batu Lanchang. It’s famous for full moon packages and its curry chicken and kunyit rice (in the full moon packs) are to die for. Eaton is also famous for its ang ku kuih.
    Hi Keat: You want some? Can get you some if you stopover on your way from BKK.
    Hi Hoyoyi: OK, next time I get behtehsoh and hiong pneah for you. August ok? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Remember our nasi lemak date.

  7. hmm.. i miss tao sar piah. wonder if sis in-law is bringing some this school hols! she’s from bukit mertajam. miss penang cendol too. ahh… those were the days when i’d walk and find my bowl of cendol before taking bus back to kl after meditation retreat… letting go? greed? err… what’s that? hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi Alison: Miss tau sar pneah? Will get you some the next round I go to KL. And no, it’s not greed but I am sure in meditation retreats, you would remember that before we eat, we have to say “I take this food not for beauty or pleasure….” Haha. That’s the beauty of being Buddhists!;-)

  9. So do you have a recipe to make this interesting biscuits and have you tried the Hainanese Tau Sar biscuits from Sabah? I think that are yummier because I do not quite enjoy the nutmeg or roasted garlic/onion flavour on the Penang variety. Surprising not many have talked about the Sabah variety. If you have not, try it sometime when you are in town.

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