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!!!