A horse with no name…

Ma” in Mandarin means horse…and in Hokkien, they call it “beh“. Hence, what people call beh teh saw in Penang is called ma ti su as well…

Ma Ti Su 1

Both mean “horse hoof biscuits” because they look like horse hoofs or at least, that’s what people claim though I just cannot  see the resemblance. To me, they look like heong peah from Teluk Intan and other parts of Perak so it got me wondering whether they’re all one and the same thing.

For one thing, do not try to google ma ti so as you will get all kinds of suggestions like “Osama sudah mati” (Osama has died) and stuff like that and if you try beh teh saw instead, you will get all kinds of tea concoctions including teh tarek. That was what happened to me actually. LOL!!!

Anyway, I happened to see these on sale here at RM2.80 a packet – not made in Penang or Perak but in Kuching so I decided to buy one to give it a try…

Ma Ti Su 2

The skin was not bad but not as flaky and crusty as the heong peah I had had from Perak and the filling is just like that in the phong peah sold at the shops along Padungan in Kuching – the ones with the very strong almond essence…

Ma Ti Su 3

…and is certainly nothing like the fragrant and gooey filling in heong peah that I very much prefer. The bottom line, therefore, is that though they’re not bad at all and quite cheap really, I would not be buying them again. Sorry.

And by the way, can anybody enlighten me and tell me exactly what ham chim beng means?

Ham chim beng

I know that is what they call our local version of cinnamon rolls which my missus loves a lot and I would try to buy them for her whenever I went to Kuching. I’m never a fan of those as I don’t like the five-spice powder used in the swirls. These are the miserable-looking ones that are available in Sibu and as can be seen in the photograph, they are extremely small and did not look as nice as the ones I used to buy in Kuching. However, I tried one and I quite like it as they were obviously not that generous with the five-spice powder so I could hardly detect its scent or taste.

Now my question is: is there any meaning in the name or is it just a name that somebody coined up to call that particular Chinese kuih (cake)? All I know is that if somebody says that your face is like ham chim beng, it is definitely not a compliment and not at all flattering. LOL!!!

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30 thoughts on “A horse with no name…

  1. Not really crazy about the BTS. Only like the Ipoh ones coz the inti usually is still liquid instead of harden.

    Ham is salty Peah is obviously biscuit. Am not sure about Chim as it sounds like “dipped”. salty dipped biscuit?? Guess have o check with the chinese educated people.

    Yes, yes…I like the wet and sticky liquid… Oops! I’m talking about the heong peah filling lah! Not nice if it is hard like toffee… :(

  2. cham….now feels like having HCM dipped into a cup of hot steaming Kopi O….

    wokay nite nite

    There’s a stall at Bukit Bintang between Jalan BB & Alor…facing KFC. Very popular – always crowded – lots of people buying, fried on the spot. I never bought- not a fan…only my missus likes. LOL!!!

  3. gosh.. small kucing never sleeps ah? I thought i be first this week my turn to car pool girls to school..
    ham chim piang.. now come to think of it, not so sure what it means.. never use the 3 words to “belittle” anyone also.. hahaha…
    in fact, yesterday my son requested to eat the ham chim piang.. bought some for him near my place.. 60sen for each.. no more rm1 for 3… :P

    Maybe she’s standing in for Cleffairy…probably snoring away – no sign of her at all all morning. LOL!!! Your son? Andy? He’s still at home? Long holiday kah? Can come to Sibu jalan2 cari makan…Dunno how much my missus paid for these – maybe 4 for RM1. I know the stall…everything selling at that price – fried yam cake (or koi), fried tapioca kuih…so maybe these as well.

  4. Hahaha…..oi “Ham Chim Beng”!!!

    You cracked me up with that. I love HCB and the ones you get here are usually filled with red bean paste – very yummy!
    With beh teh saw, I always thought they refered to Heong Peah. I remember a Penang colleague of mine last time kept asking me to buy beh teh saw for him from Ipoh coz you can get the best ones from there and I couldn’t understand him. He asked so many times, he annoyed the bejesus out of me! Until he finally found out the name ‘heong peah’.

    So they’re one and the same thing lah? Just named differently at those two places – Penang and Perak. I wonder why…

  5. oh, i like both of them, especially the beh teh saw is one of my favourite!! just love the chewy malt sugar inside, yummy~~ :)

    Ah…somebody’s just like me. The fragrant gooey…wet and sticky filling…and the fragrant, extra flaky skin, dropping all over the table as we eat… Yum!!

  6. I am no fan of BTS, but then again like I’ve always said,if it is with a cup of kopi o kaw kaw, then sure taste good lah leh..

    Now, I am go and hantam Isaac, how come he got your phone number and lost mine, anyway thanks for sharing.

    Oops…must be his canggih hp… These young people, so bergaya. I sent him via biz card and he said he did not receive. Then I had to type it out and send to him via sms. Tsk! Tsk! Of course, he HAS to have my number- me, celebrity blogger bah! Muahahahaha!!!! You’re not a fan of bts, never mind…as long as you know where yo but the best…and give me. Hehehehehe!!!! ;)

  7. i also thought those almost look like heong peah

    Ma tisu… Aren’t they heong peah? The filling’s not the same though – pale imitation, same as phong peah filling, Fail! :(

  8. I remember going to buy that stuff in Penang too.
    We walked in the wrong end and managed to see how they make the heong peah. Heh.

    I personally don’t like the stuff (too dry) but I love the 5 spice kueh in Sibu! :)
    I haven’t tried the Kuching ones though but I think I’ll prefer the Sibu ones since I like the taste and smell of 5 spice. :)

    The ones I used to buy in Kuching were bigger and more fragrant but I have not bought for years now so I do not know whether they have shrunk like these…and there was so little 5-spice powder I could hardly taste it – just a teeny-weeny bit.

  9. im bad at these chinese pastries names.. heong peng, yeah common.. fragrant biscuit.. but for the rest, i dont even know the meaning behind their names :P

    Well, Ipoh people should know heong peah at least. LOL!!! :D

  10. Kiahahahah, I actually thought heong peah and “horse hoof biscuits” are the same, like it to bits!^^

    They are the same, aren’t they? Only different names between Penang and Perak…

  11. Would prefer eating the ham chin pang than the horse hoof…~;).

    Not me. Horse hoof – extra flaky…will make a mess when eating…and the fragrant gooey filling – ooooo….I like! :D

  12. here we have ham chim beng with glutinous rice, red bean paste filling(my favourite) or just plain ham chim beng. i love to eat with a cup of kopi O for my breakfast / tea….

    Then, you’re the same gang as my missus. I thought they all have five-spice powder in the swirls. Never seen other types before.

  13. I dont like ham chee beng! hahaha! Like you said, the spices make it tasted funny for my morning breakfast! :p

    Then you’re like me… My missus likes so when I buy, it’s solely for her.

  14. I love Ham Chim Beng. I also like the one with the white pulut rice. But cannot eat often coz’ not healthy leh. Trying to get rid of a flabby belly :)

    With pulut? Never seen that before. Ya…deep fried stuff…should eat once in a while only. My daughter loves such things…and always ends up with sore throat. :(

  15. I like plain ham chim beng, don’t like those with pulut or red bean paste. Go with coffee, nice nice. It is actually quite easy to get here in KL, most morning market are selling.

    Oh? I only know the ones with ngor-hiang hun (5-spice powder). Never seen the other types.

  16. Never like beh teh soh……prefer tau sah pieh. Great afternoon snack…..

    LOL!!! I’m ok with both…but between the two, I’d probably prefer BTS…as I like the crusty, flaky skin.

  17. I love the ham chin peng with red bean paste filling…..dont like the one with five spice powder…just dont like the smell…LOL!!

    Hah! Another one. My missus would not agree with you – she loves the 5-spice powder…the more, the better.

  18. They are 2 types of BTS, the ones in Penang are mixed with or teng (black sugar) and the others found in Perak or KL are mixed with white sugar.

    Of course, I loved those in Penang mah…Did you taste the BTS from Him Heang or Ghee Hiang, the most prominent biscuits makers in Penang, while you were here??

    Ham is salty, Chim (I do not known), Peng is biscuits. It’s so delicious when eaten with Kopi-O or Nescafe. However, I dont like the original one, the one mixed with red bean paste, I loved the kosong one, empty one. It can only be found in Penang, though.

    I like the ones from Perak, those that they call heong peah. I only had the tambun biscuits from Him Heang, but I’m not really crazy about those. Hah!!! You too! Ham chim beng with red bean paste. Maybe that’s the way they make it over there – here, it’s with five-spice powder – salty, savoury.

  19. Ham chin peng with five spice powder, meh?..I thought all these while it’s red bean paste? Something must be wrong with my taste bud ler like this!!!

    I wouldn’t know what varieties there may be…but I do know that the ones I bought for my missus had five-spice powder – she loved that – to her, the amount and the fragrance of the powder would determine the quality of the ham chim beng. I tried these that she bought – they tasted ok but there was only a little hint of the five-spice powder, but it’s definitely not red bean paste, that’s for sure. My missus doesn’t eat that – makes her throw up. Dunno why.

  20. hey, ham chee peng is my favourite too. But the one shown in your picture looks FLAT, hehe…btw, i tot the inner paste are made of red bean paste?

    Yup, flat and small and miserable. So far, I only know of the ones with five-spice powder…like cinnamon rolls.

  21. I’m loving the sweet treats you’ve got there. The bun should be super duper awesome with its flakiness when it’s fresh out of the oven!!!! Arghhh…

    Gee! You seem to like everything here. Bet you have lots of nicer things in NZ, no? ;)

  22. mmm. love those biscuits! But sometimes a bit too sweet :P
    Sorry didnt manage to check, or even blog this 2 days.. Janice down with some viral ulcer infection, fever plus vomiting. Just came back from taking her to a private hospital, got shocked when rashes broke out on her face ><

    Oh dear! Oh dear! And the wedding is drawing near. Take good care of her now, hope she’s getting better…and you too.

  23. wow we called this “Hopia” here (the first one)… and I’m a big fan especially the “Pork” and “mongo” flavor
    so love it

    Oh? Dunno if we have pork or mongo, whatever that is, here…but if I’m not mistaken, lard is used in the making of the nicer ones… ;)

  24. Ham = salty
    Chin = fried
    peng = biscuit

    hence the slightly salty, savoury taste

    Yes, somebody mentioned that but thanks, anyway…and thanks for dropping by and commenting. You know my nephew, Allen, I see? ;)

  25. I always worship the Penang’s Ghee Hiang Beh Teh Saw all my life esp when I ate them the same day it was baked. So damn delicious with coffee or just like that. You really tickled me with the translations as I never knew what Beh Teh Saw meant. The next good ones come from Teluk Intan which has so many fantastic cottage bakeries and gourmet restaurants. Yum Yum!

    Oh? So you think Ghee Hiang’s better than Teluk Intan’s. Didn’t get to try – I only had Him Heang’s tambun biscuits… Certainly hope to do that on my next trip. You’re based in Penang?

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