For most traditional Chinese, the name "Tan Hock Seng" needs no further introduction. Situated at Telok Ayer St for more than 70 years, it has been widely known for its Hokkien pastries, amongst which some are already near "extinct" in Singapore.
|Lao Po Bing (Top row) and Beh Teh Sor (Bottom)|
Their signature items are the Beh Teh Sor 马蹄酥 ($2.50/5pcs) aka horseshoe pastry that are made fresh daily. Was confused when I saw Pong Piah 碰饼 & Beh Teh Sor lying side by side as I usually thought they were the same thing.
In fact I was not wrong. Uncle says they have the same filling but the difference is that Pong Piah has a soft skin while "Beh Teh Sor" has a crispy skin.
But I got confused even more. Isn't pong piah usually very crispy? Nevertheless, I still go for the crispy "pong piah" (beh teh sor).
Cross Section of Beh Teh Sor (Bottom)
If I treat it like a pong piah, this one is average. Why? Because the maltose was not in a semi-liquid form at room temperature, unlike the pong piah sold at a nearby wet market. Reheating this Beh Teh Sor does improve the texture a little but overall still clumpy. Similarly, I did not recognize the 老婆饼($3 for 4) here because it looks different from the usual Hong Kong Style ones (maybe because this is Hokkien-style?) I am not a Wife's biscuit guru like my Old Ma, who felt that the filling is not chewy or gelatinous enough. Unexpectedly, the Pepper Biscuits 胡椒饼（$3/5pcs) emerged as the darkhorse due to its uniquely sweet-salty flavour with Chinese five-spice aftertaste. The white sesame seeds ingrained on the pastry skin make it extra crunchy. Other items recommended by friends are Salty Tau Sar Piah 咸豆沙饼($2.50/5) and the Ang Ku Kueh Bean Paste and Peanuts (80 cents each). The skin of the Ang Ku Kueh was slightly too thick.
But the Tau Sar Piah was better. Each ping-pong ball sized tau sar piah had nice golden brown sheen and very fragrant.3 Little Pigs 猪仔饼
On my most recent visit, I saw my favourite primary school snack--猪仔饼 (Piglet Biscuit)!! I quickly grab the "hard kosong" packet (10 pcs for $2.50) as these are not too sweet and I can enjoy the biscuit fully. They have it also in "soft kosong" and also "soft with lotus paste".
Too many things which shall be reserved for next visit!
Look out for this pink signboard (walkable distance from Tanjong Pagar MRT, Chinatown MRT & Raffles Place MRT)
Tan Hock Seng Cake Shop 陳褔成饼家
86 Telok Ayer Street #01-01 (Round the corner of Far East Square/China Square Central)