Thursday, January 29, 2009



I was emailing my old friend , K. from Singapore, and picking his brain about the Magnolia or HAM SIEW FA as he is very well versed in plants. He thought I was talking about this salty deep fried pastry HUM CHIM PENG. 

Coming from Sibu, I am never a foodie. I was plesantly surprised that Singaporeans would go all out to far out places like Ponggol, Sambawang to eat a certain food if it was famous for it. I am never had HUM CHIM PENG which in cantonese is salty fried biscuit.

I was curious to read in the Straits Time about this very famous HUM CHIM PENG stall. Dad was visiting me in Singapore at that time. The stall was so good that people had to queue up and then have to fry their own fritter. To make it worse, supply was limited, if you queued, you may find yourself too late, the stall keeper had just  made his last HUM CHIM PENG.  You only have yourself to blame for not going earlier.

Dad thought this man was rather stupid. He obviously did not go to Economics School, to increase his supply when demand was great. He said no wonder he was having a small stall in a small hot stuffy market  and not a big bakery. Dad also wondered if this HUM CHIM PENG was really so good that the customers have to sweat in the hot humid stall waiting to buy it.

Later I read that there was a stall at Maxwell Market and food centre that people have to queue. I can't confirm if this is the same stall.

Maxwell Market holds a special place in my heart and  in all the Chan Clan's heart. They are the Singapore side of the Chan family. Both sides of our family, Mum and Dad are connected to them. They had a hair dressing Salon called Elen at Tanjong Pagar. Going back to after the World War 2, Dad studied in Singapore, and spent his weekend with this Grand Uncle. Grand Uncle had a metal sheet printing business and I think managed the Asia Hotel. His son, my uncle  S.W. was a very famous person. People in the 1960s would know him.

***I was craving for HUM CHIM PENG after discussing with K.  So I thought I would make my own HUM CHIM PENG. It was my own concoction, and it wasn't very good. It was like a hard butterfly dough. Only it was salty.  Even Sam didn't want to eat it. I should have consulted a Singapore recipe.

If that stall holder is alive and reading this, he would probably LOL till his teeth drop,  and if he had died, he would be rolling in his grave, his aged old traditional recipe being ruin by some half past six Cantonese. Looks deceived. One of them looked quite good.***

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