Thursday, November 20, 2008

Foochow Muffins

Photos show the Traditional Foochow Muffins - note the unusual shape . This shape has been around for as long as I can remember. The texture has somewhat changed over the year (due to changes in flour may be) but the shape remains the same throughout Malaysia.

The Foochows call these muffins Long Koh or Kie Long Koh (or Egg Cake ) and we have loved them from our childhood days.

This is probably the oldest "cake" made by the Foochow pioneers of Sibu and has lasted the test of time. Today this cake is still being baked every day by the Foochow "biscuit shops" in Sibu and other towns in Sarawak. The Foochows call them "Pian Daing" or biscuit shops and not bakeries. Although the market for it has shrunken it is nevertheless still a popular "gift" to bring when Foochows visit one another.

The traditional shape is distinctive and there is a lovely peak in the middle. Most of these cakes can last a week without refrigeration. These muffins made in Sibu were sold all over the Rejang Basin. During the days of motor launches which plied the Rejang River these cakes were indeed very marketable. Easy to carry and easy to eat. Today the pian daing have lost a lot of their market due to competition from different kinds of trendy cakes and other snacks. Several have closed down. The art of making these is passed from father to son and son to grandson. You can judge the age of the shop by looking at their signboard which may be as old as 70 years!!

A pack of Foochow Muffins was the easiest gift to buy and they could be distributed easily amongst the children. When my Fifth Uncle visited my Goo Poh in the Methodist Primary School the Long Koh would be one of the gifts he brought besides six tins of condensed milk. This set of gift was always welcome by a growing family. Milk and freshly made muffins from Wan Hin which was just around the corner from the primary school. Very nourishing and very comfoting.

The ingredients are simple - eggs and sugar with a secret amount of cooking oil and some raising agent. They used to be sold for five per dollar in the 60's but today with flour and eggs being very expensive they are more pricey. Sungei Merah still produces a large number of these muffins. The Central Market in Sibu continues to sell freshly made ones every day. If you are more adventurous you can go to the bakeries along Market Street and queue up in the early morning for the fresh from the oven ones. You can be assured that the bakers are all Foochows.

I have bought one this one for seventy sen in Miri as it is homemade and larger in size. It has a lovely triangular shape.

My First Bite into something quite historical!!

Second and Third Bites


This one is homemade but less oil is used. I have made it from 8 eggs and 8 spoons of fine castor sugar. Some flour is added but no raising agent is used. In fact this is the bahulu recipe but in m any ways it is Long Koh to me and my children. I only need the special bahulu mould.

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Writing about Foochow Muffins remind me of those long ago days when my grandfather was still alive.

Tea time for my grandfather was a nice cup of Jasmine tea and two cakes which could be this Foochow muffin freshly bought from Sungei Merah. Grandfather had a special style with food. He must have acquired it from his days with Rev James Hoover whom he admired. And grandmother would always make sure that she served him very well in this respect. Grandfather would sit at the dining table in the kitchen and he would have his tea alone!! We used to say that "the Lord was at his table" and giggle at the thought.

We would always get our cakes after he had his. Grandmother always kept her tins of cakes well filled for all the children who came to visit. Somehow those muffins seemed to be just so wonderfully delicious. We would dunk our muffins into our cup of condensed milk.

4 memories:

Miss LuLu said...

OMG i love this muffins..when i was younger we love to pig on this..cant really find it anymore..have to go miri old factory to find! dip it with milo..errrmmm goood =)

I Am Sarawakiana said...

hi nice to hear from you again. How have you been?

Yeah what one grows up with one cannot forget.....the taste is always there...just pure goodness...yeah dip it in Milo....very sweet milo....sinful....but good and it isw a momentary happiness....:)

Mumble jumble said...

Thats exactly how we'd(siblings and I) eat it! Especially on rainy days.

When I lived with my grandma and aunts for a year, I had the luxury of having this at least anytime i wanted. Especially on Sunday afternoons lazing around watching chinese dramas.

Now that I'm far away.. I'd really love to have at least a few to my own. and a big huge cup of milo.... and its raining now :(

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Egg muffins and milo - a luxury food that many people at an older age cannot "afford".

May be someone would invent a nice egg white only kind of muffin...and no melamine...:)

thanks for visiting.


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