I Went to West Malaysia and All I Got Was…

We traveled from Kuching to KL to spend time with family over the Chinese New Year holidays. We ate (a LOT) of course, but also brought back lots of goodies from Penang and KL. Here’s a sample of our haul:

Bak Kwa – Sweet Pork Jerky

bak kwa

Thin sheets of pork meat, covered in a sweet glaze and lightly grilled. One of my favorite snacks; they won’t last long!

Lup Chong – Chinese Sausage

lup cheong

Perfect for making fried rice or char kway teow.

Belacan – Shrimp Paste

belacan blocks

Good shrimp paste is essential to making sambal belacan, for frying with veggies such as midin or kangkong, and for seasoning belacan fried chicken.

Bushels of Biscuits

During Chinese New Year, you see a lot of different kinds of biscuits being sold.

Him Heang Tau Sar Piah

him heang tau sar piah

One of the most popular biscuits sold in Penang are “tau sar piah”, a flaky pastry filled with sweet, green bean paste. And one of the most popular bakeries that makes these biscuits is Him Heang.

Hock Lock Siew Tau Sar Piah

pandan tau sar piah spicy shrimp tau sar piah

Hock Lock Siew is another bakery which makes these biscuits. But they come in different flavors, such as a pandan-flavored one and a biscuit with a spicy shrimp filling.

Hock Lock Siew Pong Piah

pong piah

Beh Teh Sor

beh teh sor

There are other kinds of filled biscuits, such as “pong piah” – biscuit with a sweet molasses filling – and “beh teh sor" – biscuit with a caramelized shallot filling. Of the two, I like the beh teh sor the best.

Ribbon Biscuits

ribbon biscuits

This may be called a “biscuit” but it’s more like sweet, fried won ton strips. The skins are slit in the middle, folded into itself, and then fried crispy. Very hard to stop eating!

Cookies and Chips and Treats, Oh My!

Pea cookies

pea cookies

Made from green pea flour.

Almond Cookies

almond cookies

More like a thumbprint cookie than our own Chinese Almond Cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies

Annie’s aunt in Penang made these crisp, chocolatey morsels.

Kuih Kapit – Love Letters

kuih kapit love letters

These are ple
asantly sweet, coconut-flavored wafers, so thin and crispy they shatter, then melt in your mouth.

Shat Kek Ma

shat kek ma

This one is new to me. Think Rice Krispies treats, except they use fried won ton pieces instead of Rice Krispies, and molasses instead of melted marshmallows. Picked these up in Ipoh. Very nice!

Seedless Li Hing Mui

seedless li hing mui

Also picked up in Ipoh. A big bag of seedless li hing mui (dried, salted plum). I am seriously addicted to this stuff. I think it’ll last at least 2 months! ;-P

Durian Chips

durian chips

And last but not least: durian chips. Courtesy Annie’s sister-in-law from Thailand. These thin crisps have the faintest touch of durian flavor to them. I don’t know exactly what kind of starchy vegetable is thinly sliced then fried to serve as a crispy vehicle for that flavor. But it is extremely difficult to stop eating them!

This was just a sampling of the stuff we brought back. Most of it will be distributed out amongst our Kuching friends. But some of it will not pass back through the doors of our house 😉

Stay tuned! we’ve got a couple of posts coming which talk about the foods we actually *ate* there in West Malaysia!

Aloha, Nate

14 thoughts on “I Went to West Malaysia and All I Got Was…”

  1. What a haul! I put on weight just reading about everything! You do realize that being addicted to all these num-nums is simply God's way of testing your self-discipline?!? I'm totally jealous. Enjoy!

  2. Nate & Annie,

    I am actually sad looking at your goodies… sad because I don't have any 😉

    Seriously, they're all yummy looking stuff. I am sure that the belachan is better than the ones available in the US.

    Can't wait to see more pictures from you.

    Tuty @ Scentofspice

  3. Wow. That all looks delicious – takes me back to my school days, when the girls at my school would come back at the beginning of the year laden down with goodies from Hong Kong and Malaysia. Nom nom nom!

  4. Nice haul, you guys have enough biscuits to last until next new year! Funny to see the li hing mui (my mouth watering while typing) but nowadays all those crackseed stuff from Hawaii are made in Southeast Asia.

  5. Annie – where is this hock lock siew? Penang? Penang belecan really rocks. Got two blocks from my sis when she came. Have been cooking up a storm with them. I love beh teh soh so much.

  6. ohhh the ba kwa looks soooo good. my mom is from penang.
    oh, also the ribbon cookies. if only i could get over the heat, i'd vist malaysia more often!

  7. Hey Nate & Annie. That's quite a good harvest there ! Are you sure you can finish all of it ? I'm sure there are lots of "friends" willing to help.

  8. @all – thanks for your comments!

    @Sharlene – heheh. I'm not really going Lent this year…

    @Tuty – awww, sorry!

    @Katja – nom indeed!

    @Single Guy Ben – I thought the seeds were made in China / Taiwan.

    @Rasa Malaysia – Hock Lock Siew is in Penang. Criz brought us there:


    @Bob – same concept, but the pork is thicker than bacon, and it isn't cured or smoked first.

    @Tia – honestly, the heat in Malaysia is hard to take any time of the year. So come anytime!

    @Blessed Homemaker – thanks!

    @BorneoBoy – you got our number; give us a jingle!


  9. I ate some of the best meals of my life in KL and Penang, so I cannot wait to read more from your visit. Love the goodies you brought home, too.

    1. Peggy,

      as far as I know, no you are not allowed to bring bak kwa into the US. If that has changed, I’d love to hear it!

      It *is* however, allowed to bring bak kwa from West Malaysia to East Malaysia. 🙂

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