No Brand But Just As Good

I’m not a big fan of tau sar pneah although Nic is. He loves them to bits and can eat a few at one go, especially if they’re going with brewed coffee.
Soh Peng’s little adventure with finding tau sar pneah the last time she visited was enlightening, especially for me. I was a little intrigued about the best tau sar pneah in town, or at least the best type you could cart home to friends and family.
Anyway, Nic actually liked Chuan Hoe brand of tau sar pneah. This brand was recommended by the lady at a stall in Chowrasta market. He said it was moist and redolent of fried onions. Sometimes the no-brand stuff can be rather lovely.
But he also liked Ah Leong’s freshly baked tau sar pneah too. Ah Leong is a little nickname we gave to this nondescript, hidden gem of a biscuit maker located behind De Tai Tong dim sum restaurant on Cintra Street. Ah Leong is actually Leong Chee Kei – the name of this tiny biscuit shop on the ground floor of the very Hong Kong-style, 1970s People’s Flats.
Leong Chee Kei (not sure if that’s his name or the name of the shop but hey, it does not matter) sells freshly baked traditional style cakes and biscuits. It opens every day from 10am to 6pm (except Sunday because the baker does need a rest).
I was introduced to this pastry shop by Jo, a Singaporean no less, one day after we’d had a filling lunch at De Tai Tong. She said she wanted to show me a superb little shop behind this dim sum place.
Leong Chee Kei is famous for their freshly baked coconut tarts which tend to sell out fast.

Coconut tarts Penang style
Chinese style coconut eaten lightly reheated

Their pepper biscuits are also crunchy and famous (come to think of it, which biscuit is not famous in this shop?) and so are their traditional style egg cakes – you know, the soft and spongy cake in the 80s before we all got caught up in crepe de mille or cheesecake or macarons. (You can read more and salivate over this quirky Chinese bakery goodies over at CK Lam’s blog.)
They sell all sorts of traditional biscuits so the best time to come is in the morning, 10-ish or so when the baked goods are just cooling off under their furious fans, ready to be packed and bought by tourists. Yes, tourists have also discovered that the best stuff is just plain un-branded and needs a bit of a curious nose to find. Oh and they do quite a good walnut cookie (“hup tow soh”) too – the size of a large American cookie but tastes very crumbly and rich.
Despite being famous, this shop has retained local prices (at least they seem quite local to me).
This shop sells pretty good tau sar pneah and possibly good enough to rival the big boys. In fact if you ask me, theirs could be lots better ‘coz it’s handmade, made the day or even the day before (it’s not sitting in some shop for yonks) and you’re supporting one of the few local bakeries – possibly the last of its kind because I doubt the owner’s kids will be doing this manual biscuit baking any time soon.
Which reminded me of another food-nostalgia-reflection story of a Ban Chang Kuih seller we spoke to at one of the street corners near Cintra Street. It’s the story of how there is no wrong or right, but of how circumstances change.
And that is another story for another day. Do remind me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere

I can’t keep this secret to myself any longer as she’s going to officially start selling her cookies soon and with a website to boot too.
I’ve been privileged to move to my new neighbourhood and automatically get new neighbours who are both like friends and family.
It’s been great settling in and making new discoveries about our new neighbourhood. (Ah, the only thing which bugs me is that this middle-class neighbourhood which is 2 minutes’ from Queensbay Mall is a magnet for the damn snatch thieves but more on that later.)
Anyway, she stops taking orders come 1 Feb so hurry and make your orders before she takes a break for Chinese New Year.
I’ve tried many of her cookies (that’s the beauty of being neighbours – we get to be ‘guinea pigs’) and I can personally vouch that she uses premium ingredients and she never stinges! Each cookie and slice of cake is a pleasure to eat because they’re really full of lip-smacking goodness.
Oh, I haven’t introduced her ya? Well, she’s Vern’s mom. Vern’s my blogger friend who became a friend and then she interned at Redbox Studio and then we became neighbours since last November. It’s a story that is worth telling over and over. What a strange way to become neighbours huh?
Anyway, Mrs Hor’s quite the maestro in the kitchen and she is always trying out new and exciting recipes. Her baking foray is due to egging from her children and friends like us!
So let me point you in the direction of yummilicious cookies. But order soon as orders close 1 Feb.
Lest you think I’m partial to her cookies, I’d say I’m partial to GOOD STUFF.
The other ‘baker” I like is my aunt as she makes ONLY pineapple tarts. I always tell clients and friends that these jam tarts are limited edition stuff because they’re made with love and passion and therefore tastes like heaven.
Another equally good baker is my friend Ai Tee. You can find out more about her goodies from this post of mine.
I’ve also tried other so-called homemade cakes and cookies, the most recent being some carrot walnut cake which I bought at a seminar last Saturday.
The lady who sold the cake who was the baker of this cake of course exclaimed how much carrot and quality walnuts she used (“200gm you know and you know how expensive walnuts are but you feel my cake? Dense right?”). I was taken in by the fact that her cake was quite fragrant so I bought a slab for Vern’s mom to taste while I bought a slab of cempedak cake.
But what a disappointment! The carrot cake was tasteless while the cempedak cake didn’t really live up to expectations. The cake texture was dry and after 1 day in the fridge, it was drier and harder! And this from a woman who waxed lyrical about her own cakes and silly old me got taken in and bought them. But I always say, well, I have to sometimes eat some lousy cakes in order to appreciate well-made cakes.