Heong Peng: A Sweet and Salty Treat for Your Taste Buds

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Once upon a time, in the bustling streets of Malaysia, a delightful aroma wafted through the air, leading curious passersby to a small, unassuming bakery. This was no ordinary bakery, for it was the birthplace of a culinary masterpiece known as Heong Peng, a traditional Malaysian delicacy that has captured hearts and taste buds alike.

This is the story of Heong Peng.

The Aroma of Memories

Heong Peng (香餅) , which means ‘fragrant pastries‘ in Cantonese, reflects the aromatic appeal of these biscuits, a feature that has made them a beloved snack across Malaysia. But these words barely scratch the surface of what this food item represents.

For many, the mere mention of Heong Peng evokes a flood of memories. Originating from the town of Teluk Intan in Perak, Malaysia, this delicacy has been a staple in Chinese-Malaysian households for generations. The unique aroma of Heong Peng, a blend of caramelised sugar, molasses, and a hint of five-spice, is often associated with festive seasons and family gatherings. It’s a scent that lingers in the air, inviting and warm, reminiscent of old family homes and childhood afternoons.

A Labor of Love

What makes Heong Peng so special? The answer lies in its perfect blend of sweet and savoury ingredients. The outer layer is flaky and crisp, made from a dough that includes wheat flour, molasses, and a hint of salt. This encases a filling that is a delightful mix of malt sugar, shallots, and sesame seeds, creating a balance of flavours that dance on your palate.

The secret to its unique taste and aroma, however, is the traditional method of baking these biscuits. Baked in a charcoal oven, the pastries are cooked to a perfect balance of crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. This method imparts a smoky flavour that modern ovens struggle to replicate.

Heong Peng
Source: TasteAtlas

From Local Kitchens to Global Fame

While Heong Peng remains true to its roots, it has also adapted to the changing times. Today, you can find variations of this snack, with some incorporating modern flavours like chocolate and green tea. However, the classic Heong Peng, with its traditional recipe, continues to be a crowd favourite. From local markets in Malaysia to international food festivals, Heong Peng has made its mark as a global culinary treasure.

A Treat for All Occasions

Heong Peng is more than just a treat; it’s a symbol of Malaysian hospitality and tradition. Often served during the Lunar New Year and other festive occasions and as a souvenir for visitors, it represents the warmth and generosity of Malaysian culture. The biscuit has also become a popular gift item, with beautifully packaged Heong Peng making their way into homes as a symbol of sharing and celebration.

sweet and savoury pastry
Source: sillyepiphany

A Taste Worth Exploring

No visit to Ipoh is complete without savouring the crispy delight of Heong Peng. As you stroll through the bustling streets of the town, the aroma of freshly baked pastries will lead you to quaint bakeries and stalls, where you can witness the art of Heong Peng making firsthand. Whether enjoyed with a cup of fragrant Ipoh white coffee or taken home as a delightful souvenir, Heong Peng promises to leave a lasting impression on your palate.

Article curated by Himavee Jayaweera.