Ghee Hiang Tau Sar Pneah

ghee hiang tau sar pneah

Picture this. We just arrived in Penang and naturally, one of the things you get in Penang is Tau Sar Pneah (red bean baked pastries). I have no idea why it’s spelled pneah, I would have gone with the shorter phonetic pia. Anyway, that is not the point of this.

We followed the GPS to Ghee Hiang but when it cheerfully announced that we have arrived at our destination, all we saw was a brick building – with no entrance that the naked eye can see.

There were a couple of tour buses there though, so I thought we were in the right place. After parking, we realized that we have arrived at the factory itself. We walked in through the back of Ghee Hiang and thus caught a glimpse of how they make tau sar pneah:

tau sar pneah 1

tau sar pneah 2

tau sar pneah 3

tau sar pneah 4

ghee hiang

tau sar pneah 5

Ghee Hiang Tau Sar Pneah has only one small facade for doing commerce – the majority of the floor space is dedicated to actually making the pastries. I thought it was funny though, us waltzing in through the back door for employees and plodding the entire length of the considerable factory to the front to buy the acclaimed Penang delights. πŸ™‚

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29 thoughts on “Ghee Hiang Tau Sar Pneah”

  1. Looks good…but they say Him Heang’s better – the worker left to open this one…about 100 metres down the road. Queue is terrible, jam…and they say must book or else, cannot buy. If anything is such a hassle to buy, anything at all, I would rather not eat…

    • Yeah Him Heang seems to be the more popular one by far. πŸ™‚

      I think I’ve gotten it before – not too sure though, went to the one in Lorong Selamat.

      Didn’t have to book though – it was available retail.

      Interesting! I didn’t know you had to go through so much trouble to get Him Heang.

    • Yeah, that seems to be the popular one bro. πŸ™‚

      Him Heang I mean. Gee Heang has a lot of other stuff that I saw, I think they even make soy sauce.

    • Does Him Heang only do sales from their factory?

      I remember seeing retail boxes of it in an outlet at Lorong Selamat.

      It must be good if it’s causing traffic jams though. πŸ˜‰

      • I think there a retailers but not sure about the price tho .

        Normally people get it from the factory as it’s much fresher this way =D

        Best to get it during weekdays to avoid the queue and jams

          • I hear the retailers charge 50 sen extra as they have to pay Him Heang for the “privilege”. Same thing at Chowrastra Market (near Line Clear).

          • Interesting! I guess that’s understandable but it’ll drive people who really like their tau sar pneah to the Him Heang factory instead.

            It’s fresher as Ian mentioned. πŸ™‚

  2. I have a feeling that it is spelled “pneah” because the “pn” provides a nasal sound…or the visuals of one? I love it. Haven’t had it for ……years!

    • Good explaination! πŸ™‚

      I don’t prounounce it that way though, maybe it’s the difference between Sarawak Hokkien and Penang Hokkien.

      Aud in the comment above is how a Penangite would pronounce it. In other words, the correct way. πŸ˜€

  3. him heang is at jalan burma, yah they are more famous but i think ghee hiang is just as good. the mostly “psychological” effects from him heang is that it is not halal while ghee hiang probably is, if i remember correctly.

    in any case they are all good. πŸ˜€

    • Interesting! I don’t recall which one I had – the outlet was in Lorong Selamat though. πŸ™‚

      I guess you can taste it more on lard based dishes – in Sibu, we have this kampua mee thing going on – the traditional way is to use lard to toss the noodles, most places now use vegetable oil to cater for the health concious (though I wouldn’t know why since there’s char siew on top of kampua mee).

      I can taste the difference between lard based kampua and the vegetable oil based one.

      I’m not sure if I can in baked pastries like tau sar pneah though – doubt I can. πŸ™‚

  4. Him Heang is the better tasting one… but there’s a trick to it… you have to buy the ones that comes in rolls (2 variants, salty and sweet roll – ask for the salty one).

    These rolls don’t look as presentable (basically a row of cookies wrapped into a roll with paper) and come as larger pieces instead of the itty-bitty balls that you get in the boxes… but there’s a real difference in taste!

    Once you’ve had this.. the only reason you’ll ever want to buy the boxed variety is for making presentable gifts….

    • Interesting! I didn’t know there are tar sar pneah that comes in rolls.

      I don’t care about presentation as long as it looks good.

      Thanks for the tip mate! πŸ™‚

    • Heh! That’s an awesome name for it. Dragon ball biscuits. πŸ˜€

      You like tau sar pneah? I get for you next time I’m in Penang, Eiling! πŸ™‚


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