Cintra Street – Ham Chim Peng/Pak Thong Kou

There is this little, wooden, stall at the junction of Cintra Street and Campbell Street (where Woo Hing is). It opens only at night and is situated across De Tai Tong (the dim sum and noodle shop). This humble stall is darkly lighted, located next to the Chinese medicine herbal tea stall.

If you are not familiar, you may not know they are selling these delicious cakes because all of them are covered in white cloth and placed in these traditional bamboo basket.

From far, it doesn’t even look appetising because most ham chim peng are freshly fried from the hot, boiling oil. But this stall did not because all of them are pre-fried and brought to the stall.

However, don’t let this fool you. You can see a steady stream of people buying what they stall labelled as ‘Chinese Pancake and Chinese Steam Cake’.

The ham chim peng comes in three types – salty, with glutinous rice and with red bean (tau sar) filling.

Ham chim peng is made of flour, some five spice powder and get its flavour from the ammonia powder or what the Cantonese called ‘chow fun’ (smelly powder?). It puffs up upon frying, very much like the Indian poori.

This stall sells something not often found around Penang. It is the pak thong kou or called ‘white sugar steamed cake’. It is very mild in taste, a little like the ‘fatt kou’ but it doesn’t have the sourish after-taste. A Cantonese favourite, I would say.


All these cakes cost RM0.50 per piece and they sell out fast. Business is brisk.

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3 thoughts on “Cintra Street – Ham Chim Peng/Pak Thong Kou

    Eileen Chua

    (May 11, 2005 - 7:17 am)

    aw man!!! Miss ham chim peng so much!! It’s one of the first thing I look for when I get back home every summer. Love the salty one and the glutinous rice ones.. Yummy yummy…

    Never tried pak tong gou before though.


    (May 11, 2005 - 12:59 pm)

    from a short distance, it looked like a whole roast chicken…

    […] I bought one hua chee which is made of flour, coated with a bit of sugar and sesame seeds.  Overall, nothing very great.  So, I am not sure what draws the crowd there.  In Penang, the best hua chee comes from Bayan Baru market (night) and the ham chim peng comes from Cintra Street (night).  I still haven’t find a yau char kwai that I like.  I like my yau char kway extremely hard (LOL), crispy, saltish and have some smell of the ammonia powder without oil bubbles stucked to it. […]

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