We were…

…born when Sarawak was a British colony, subjects of the Queen of England. My birth certificate even has a postage stamp with the head of King George VI who passed away in February that very year when I was born, 1952.

Later, we were brainwashed to think that the colonist took advantage of the colonies and bought their products at very low prices and used them as dumping grounds for their exports.

Yes, we had a lot of British products – cars, for instance, were from the Ford Company and Vauxhall and the mini Austins were very popular. We had continental cars too, the favourite being the or kui chia (turtle car), the Volkswagen. Cars from Japan made their appearance later but they were frowned upon – anything that would spoil easily at the time including children that fell sick frequently would be called Ji-pun hoi (Japanese product).

There were made-in-England food products too including Bovril and Marmite, and even the curry powder…

Made in England curry powder

…that we used at the time. To this day, we still hear people lamenting as to how the made-in-England Milo in the good ol’ days was so much nicer than what we have today.

We had all kinds of biscuits from names like Huntley & Palmers or Jacobs. There were gems, marie and a favourite of mine, Nice – pronounced niece as in that place in France. According to Wiki, it is a plain or coconut-flavoured biscuit, thin, rectangular in shape, with rounded bumps on the edges, and lightly covered with a scattering of large sugar crystals, often with the word “NICE” imprinted on top in sans-serif capital letters.

We can still get those biscuits these days but no, they all seem to pale in comparison like the Nice from Australia…

Nice

…and the gems and the marie biscuits, most probably local-made, that we can get very easily here and of course, we have our own cream crackers…

Cream crackers

now, a whole lot nicer than Jacobs but then again, those Jacobs products are not made in England anymore.

Even Osborne biscuits are made locally now, by Julie’s and all the rest. As a matter of fact, I never heard of it in my growing up years. We had those oval, hard-as-a-rock, bland/tasteless biscuits that we called Cabin. I vaguely remember the name being embossed on each biscuit – that is why when people these days talk about roti kaben, I know exactly what they are talking about while those younger ones simply cannot understand why everyone calls those Osborne biscuits roti kaben – well, this is the reason.

I did not know of Osborne biscuits until after I got married. My missus enjoys eating them so she would buy some to keep in the house to eat. Even when my mum steamed those Cabin biscuits in coconut milk with pandan leaves added, what they call bubur roti kaben, till soft and soggy, I was never a fan.

We still can get a lot of made-in-England biscuits here, more often than not, a lot nicer than the rest but to be fair, some are really over-rated and we do have some nice local-made biscuits as well, maybe even nicer ones minus the snob appeal since they are not imported from countries overseas.

These…

Ping Pong coconut biscuits

…remind me of Nice biscuits except that they are not coated with sugar…

Ping Pong coconut biscuit

…and of course, the name is not embossed on them and needless to say, they are not as nice but they’re not too bad, I would say.

What about you? What biscuits do you enjoy?

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

8 thoughts on “We were…”

  1. I love to eat biscuits, no clear cut favourites. Hup Seng ping pong crackers are popular because they are crunchy, salty and oily but not overly salty, not overly oily. The roti kaben biscuits that you described sounds like a very hard biscuits I used to eat called jun Ren pin aka soldiers biscuits.

    Yes, I did read somewhere that they are called soldiers’ biscuits. Incidentally, I tried a piece or two that day – my missus has her usual supply in an airtight container – and it was not as hard as I remember them to be, very crunchy and a lot easier to bite and eat.

    Hup Seng’s cream crackers are my favourite of all cream crackers.

  2. I used to like Hup Seng ping pong crackers but after news about it quite sometimes ago, I never buy now. Nowadays, I like Munchy cream crackers, Julie’s Golden crackers, Osborne biscuits and always have them in my pantry. That is how we grow up eating this type of crackers. These days, I don’t think youngsters are interested in this type of crackers.

    That was an urban legend – they say you burn anything with carbs, it will burn. You cannot believe all these stories, take with a pinch of salt. Some people simply have nothing else better to do. This one, dunno what biscuit, round one…also burn. This one uses Hup Seng crackers and the guy said tipu one, the rumour.
    Like at one time in the 70’s, the Padungan market kueh chap was so popular, people had to queue to buy. Then someone spread the rumour that the guy chopped off one of his fingers and threw it into the stew to cook with all the innards. Nobody went back there again after that! So kesian the guy, victimised by jealous people.
    Another one would be the satay behind Rex Cinema last time. So so so good, so popular…until people said they added dadah, that was why people got addicted and kept going back for more. That was the end of it!
    And one place, cannot remember where – the Indian guy wore a BIG ring…and they said they saw shit stuck to the crevices – they used their hands to clean, you see.
    Then they were saying how they add plastic bag to the oil so the cucur pisang will be so crispy.

    By the way, have you taken your favourite crackers and burnt them to see? LOL!!!

  3. I went to the mall two days ago, bought back Hwa Tai vegetable crackers among other household stuff… Which biscuits I really like? I really cannot say, the common ones I normally buy is the cream crackers cos they can be eaten with kaya whenever I am hungry for snacks… actually I still miss those yesteryears biscuits, even the choc wafer is so much different from those sold these days…

    Oh? The old school chocolate wafer? I think they are still selling at some places, maybe the smaller shops. I enjoy cream crackers with peanut butter more (and butter) than kaya.

  4. Hup Seng cream cracker with Milo. Growing up taking that for breakfast before off to school. Lol.

    So creamy, so fragrant, so crispy! Definitely better than all the rest!

  5. Well I prefer oreo and chipsmore. 😀

    Still I would love to try the biscuits that you have mentioned.

    Two that I would avoid – not into stuff that sweet! My girl prefers other choc chip cookies to Chipsmore, and is not into Oreos either.

  6. So funny to think that Malaysians would use curry powder made in England!

    It’s very nice though. That Thai chef at my one-time favourite Thai restaurant here would not use any other brand! I hear it is just perfect for Japanese curry, not that I am a fan of it. LOL!!!

  7. Arnott’s Nice is one of my fave biscuit and I’ve tried the coconut biscuit (but Philippine brand) and I like it as well. Does the British Nice taste coconut-y?

    Hello! How are you? Haven’t seen you here for a long long time! Yes, the coconut taste was the main attraction.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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