Tau Sar Pneah

A recent food tasting session saw the old-fashioned Tau Sar Pneah winning hands down over the newer flavours.

IT’S another food item that is synonymous with Penang, and something that no visitor to the island will leave without buying either to enjoy as a light snack or to take back as a gift for relatives.

After all, Tau Sar Pneah, otherwise known as Dragon Balls or Tambun Biscuits, is one of the few things you can transport far without compromising on taste or quality.

AStocking up: Shopowner Mrs Ng putting the biscuits into plastic packaging at Tong Hoe Seng in Chowrasta market at Jalan Penang

The little rounds of light flaky pastry filled with a sweet or savoury paste made of mashed green beans (tau sar) and a rich, underlying aroma of fried shallots are delicious straight out of the oven, though few would be so fortunate as to enjoy them this way.

However, if you freeze them as soon as you get them. then defrost and put them in the oven for a brief spell, they will come out almost as crispy and tasty.

When you want a whiff of Penang, what better way than to tuck into one with a nice hot cup of our white coffee?

Hard at work: Sheng Hiang staff putting together the biscuits

There are several well-known brands available but what was surprising even to me was the number of less well-known ones. Most also manufacture or retail other well-known Penang products like Beh Teh Saw, Hiao Peah, Dodol, nutmeg and the like.

And the flavours! Who would have thought the humble dragon ball would have evolved to include so many different tastes: there were pandan, coffee, orange, dried shrimp and even durian! And this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Popular snack: Ghee Hiang staff packing Tau Sar Pneah into boxes

Tean Ean: Located in a huge mansion at the corner of Gurney Drive, this company was started about 14 years ago. 90, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, 10050 Penang. Tel: 04-229 8130

Soon Seng: Available from Chowrasta Market.

Sheng Hiang: Also established over a decade ago, now with several branches in Penang. They are famous for their “fruit” flavours although apparently their “sambal udang” is the most popular. 19, Kimberley Street, 10100 George Town, Penang. Tel: 04-261 9928

Loong Nam: Another established company which used to be in Penang Road and has now relocated to Hutton Lane. 213, Hutton Lane. 10050 Penang. Tel: 04-226 9663

TB Tambun: Available from Chowrasta Market.

Him Heang: Established in 1948, very popular with locals and visitors alike, as reflected by the number of cars which jam up Burmah Road. 162A, Jln Burma, 10050 Pulau Pinang, Tel: 04-228 6130

Ghee Hiang: One of the best known, it was established in 1856; probably the patriarch and oldest biscuit company in Penang. The old shop in Beach Street is still there, but they have introduced several outlets in town for easy access.

The fruit-flavoured Tau Sar Pneah that comes in corn, pineapple, orange and apple

Note: This post is reproduced from Original flavour beats the rest