I know nothing much about Hockew, be it the language or the people, except for their delicacies. As a food lover, I spend most of my time doing research on food and their origins. Since we are so conveniently exposed to the Hochew culture from our neighbouring town, Sitiawan, I did not waste the opportunity of hunting for the best food during my recent trip to Sitiawan. As a kick start to my 'makan-makan' journey, I went to the morning market to enjoy a bowl of Loh Mee. I proceeded to Teluk Batik for a stroll (in the hot sun) and returned to Sitiawan for a bowl of Red Wine Mee Suah followed by James's Cendol for dessert. I was assured by my Sitiawan friend that my trip to Sitiawan would not be a perfect one without visiting another obligatory stop, 'Cheong Cia Gong Pian'. Kindly not ask for translation as I couldn't even understand any single word they uttered. I guess the words 'Gong Pian' stand for 'Kong Pehng' (pronouned in Cantonese).
The biscuits are baked in a traditional oven that resembles the type used by the Indians in making Naan Bread. They apply the same theory of sticking the dough onto the interior wall of the oven which is preheated by some burning charcoal at the bottom of the oven. The temperature of the surrounding can be quite intolerable but those workers are so used to it that they actually insert their hands straight into the oven. Amazing, right? By looking at the way the biscuit is prepared, I wonder if this is another variation of Naan Bread.
I can feel the heat by just looking at the picture, what about those workers who stand beside it for hours? I salute them!
The 'Kong Pehng' comes in three types of savoury fillings, namely onion, chives and the plain type. Each costs not more than 60 cents. The biscuit is very fragrant, light and crisp when it comes out fresh from the oven. I brought back 2 dozens of it and the smell of the biscuit can still be detected inside my car. I tried various methods to get rid of it but none of it works. T.T
Cheong Cia Gong Pian