Horse hooves and puffs.

This week’s Photo Challenge is “Curve”

Find inspiration in the curves around you.

This week’s photo challenge inspired my first (of many I hope) food post. The stars of this post are two curvaceous Hokkien traditional pastries:

Phong Piah (pronounced pee’ah) and Beh Teh Saw.

Beh Teh Saw on the left, Phong Piah on the right


What’s the difference?

Before I started on this article, I have always assumed that Phong Piah and Beh Teh Saw are synonyms for a flaky pastry with a  sweet and savory sticky maltose filling, flavored with hints of sesame and fried shallots. However, after extensive googling, I’ve discovered the that there is a difference.

Beh Teh Saw/ Horse Hoof Biscuit/ 馬蹄酥


This pastry’s characteristic “horse hoof” appearance is due to the way it is baked. The filling is first wrapped in a layer of pastry before being stuck to a side of clay oven, this unique baking method results in a crunchy exterior and one side to be thicker due to the uneven heat distribution.


Baked in traditional oven with coconut husks charcoal

Phong Piah/ Puff biscuit/ 碰饼


Phong piah (aka Sugar puff aka Fragrant Biscuits) on the other hand are baked in the conventional method: laid out in neat rows on a baking tray. The difference in baking method leads to a softer and more even crust.

Before and after. Source: Corner Cafe – Phong Piah recipe

Interesting bit of trivia:

The Hokkien colloquial for “phong piah” means somebody gets a scolding – “吃碰饼” (eat “phong piah”)

The pastries in this post are from Tan Hock Seng located on Telok Ayer Street. This traditional Hokkien bakery has been churning out authentic Chinese treats for close to 80 years!  Check out the following blog posts for more information on their impressive range of baked goods:

Tan Hock Seng Chop
Address: #01-01, 86
Telok Ayer Street (S)048469, 048469
Phone:6533 6572