Friday, 8 September 2017

Soon Hiang Hand Made Tau Sar Piah & Tambun Biscuit in Penang 順香 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Tau Sar Piah and Biskut Tambun are the most popular gifts visitors take away from Penang. Most visitors leave the island with boxes of these iconic traditional biscuits synonymous with Penang.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Penang tau sar piah started with Ghee Hiang 義香 over 160 years ago (in 1856). Most of the best known brands of Penang tau sar piah are off shoots of Ghee Hiang either by family members or former workers.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Tar sar piah were originally all hand made. But, today due to the huge popularity of the iconic biscuit, it is no longer possible. Most of the big brand tau sar piah are now mass produced in factories to meet the huge tourist demand. Needless to say, as the process of making tau sar piah is different between machine made and hand made, the product is different.

Fortunately, there are still a small handful of traditional hand made tau sar piah shops where locals go to (leaving the factory stuff to tourists 😝).

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Soon Hiang at Jalan Kuantan in Georgetown is one of the last hand made tau sar pneah shops left in Penang.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Soon Hiang is founded by Mr Koay Hock Soou who started working with Ghee Hiang when he was just a tender 13 year old. Mr. Koay who is now over 70 years old, devoted his life to hand making tau sar pneah.

Mr Koay normally works bare bodied. On the way to Soon Hiang, I overheard Leong (who brought me here) reminding Mr Koay to have an apron on 😂 Leong told me that Mr Koay is camera shy and has never allowed anyone to photograph him at work in the hot shop before. (Personally, I would love to photograph Mr Koay in his everyday work attire, even better if it is shirtless 😄)

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

I am glad that Soon Hiang is going into the second generation with Mr Koay Kai Hoe, senior Mr. Koay's son.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Starting with making the green (mung) bean paste and the dough, everything is hand made at Soon Hiang.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

The tau sar pneah are hand rolled.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Tau sar pneah, one at a time by patient, dedicated men.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Each tau sar piah is topped with a dab of white sesame seeds.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

The tau sar piah are given an egg wash before going into the oven.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Popping the tau sar piah into the oven. Soon Hiang has only one oven which they had used for decades. Production rate is low and demand is high, so if you are coming to Soon Hiang for your tau sar pneah, please call them on +604 229 5799 to check availability and make reservations.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

For decades, Mr Koay stood by his trusty oven while the tao sar piah are baked. Mid way, he will take them out for a second egg wash and put them back in the oven for a finishing bake.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Making the best tau sar piah needs the full attention of the seasoned baker who judges with his nose, eyes and ears. The customers will judge with their taste buds 😋

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Gleaming golden brown tau sah piah hot out of the oven.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Even the very last step is by hand. Mr. Koay's camera shy wife hand rolls the tau sar pneah into waxed paper and sticks them together with rice paste.

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Soon Hiang's tau sar piah has crumbly flaky golden brown crusts. The green bean paste filling has just the right moistness. The whole tau sar piah tastes mildly savoury sweet with a hint of shallot oil 香油 flavour and aroma.

(At the moment, small Tambun biscuits costs RM11.50 a box with 32 pieces inside. Larger tau sar piah costs RM3.70 for a roll of 5 pieces.)

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

4-Star (out of 5) If you are going to buy Penang tau sar piah, may I humbly suggest supporting small traditional hand made shops like Soon Hiang.

Artisanal shops like Soon Hiang make excellent tau sar piah, the centuries old way but they don't have the marketing and promotional dollars of factories. They can only rely on word of mouth of happy customers.

Give them a try. They have the old school taste more like what it was 160 years ago (than the factory stuff). You will enjoy good tau sar piah while helping to keep the beautiful art of hand making tao sar pneah thriving for future generations.

Thank you 😄

Soon-Hiang-Tau-Sar-Piah-順香

Restaurant name: Soon Hiang Biscuit Shop 順香
Address 33, Jalan Kuantan, George Town, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
GPS: 5°24'40.0"N 100°19'27.5"E | 5.411100, 100.324294
Tel: +60 4-229 5799 (best to call to check availability and to reserve)
Hours: 9:00am to 7:00pm (closed on Tues)

Non Halal

Date: 2 Sep 2017

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2 comments:

  1. Walk in customers are very likely to leave empty handed, you need to place your orders in advance. Normally the aunty (Mrs Koay?)is the one serving customers at the front counter.

    The quality of their TSPs can be a bit inconsistent though. Acually, having tried Soon Hiang and the other major brands,I dun find any signifiacnt difference between them.

    Joe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your visit and comments. I will visit more TSP shops during my next visit.

      Delete

I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints as it makes this blog better :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is unethical in the same way as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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