Traditional Chinese biscuits

What I am going to feature here are non-halal biscuits. I hope all the Chinese are aware of these and never offer them unintentionally. These biscuits contain lard. However, I believe there are halal versions. So, do look out for the Halal certification if you want to give them to your Muslim friends.


This is the tau sah pneah which I bought and brought to Kuala Lumpur, only to miss bringing them to the bloggers meet at KLCC. Very sorry to those who missed eating them. Tau sah pneah is made of mung beans grounded and flavoured with fried onions and some other things. There are two versions, one sweet and the other sweetish-saltish flavour. I prefer the latter version. Tau sah pneah is not to be confused with Tambun pneah.

Tambun pneah is almost the same but it is smaller in size.

As you can see, it’s mungbean paste are fluffy and the exterior layers are crispy.


This is the beh teh saw which may looks the same as tau sah pneah but taste totally different. The skin is crispier and thicker. It doesn’t have the glazed shiny top.

The interior is made of molasses (or bah leh ko in Hokkien or mak thong kou in Cantonese). Therefore, it has a gooey, sweet interior with sesame seeds.

Apart from these, there are the hneoh pneah (hiong peng) which has black, gooey interior and another type call phong pneah which is like beh teh saw but has a milder taste, bigger and flatter. (If I have the photos, I will post them to avoid the confusions with all the almost similar looking but taste different biscuits.)

All these five types of biscuits are ‘must buy’ for most tourists to Penang. You can find them being sold at most bisquits shops and supermarkets. Cold Storage sells Loh See Fu’s brand which is ok.

But there are two shops that you musn’t miss. One is Ghee Hiang. The above biscuits are from Ghee Hiang. Ghee Hiang has a beautiful, big bungalow as their shop at the junction of Jalan Anson and Jalan Macalister. Plenty of parking and you may want to take photos at their store front with its golden door. Ghee Hiang’s signature biscuits are the hioh pneah (black sugar one) and their phong pneah. Ghee Hiang also has stall in Gurney Plaza, outside of Cold Storage.

The other one is Him Heang. Him Heang is famous for their Tambun Pneah and I also prefer the beh teh saw from Him Heang as it is more flavourful. But the problem with Him Heang is the lack of parking, waiting area (along busy Jalan Burmah) and staff’s attitude. Their Tambun biscuits are sold exclusively at their shops only and therefore, they can get very brash when business is brisk. Sales are limited to only two boxes per person!

You can check out Ghee Hiang very nice website with full introduction of their products. They even include the calorie content of their biscuits. Isn’t that nice? I had written about their sesame oil in my other blog.

Babe in the City had written a very comprehensive article about these biscuits too.

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

6 thoughts on “Traditional Chinese biscuits


    (August 11, 2005 - 3:26 am)

    Wow, now I’m hungry for those biscuits. I like the Beh Teh Saw especially when it’s freshly baked. Someone mentioned to me that the people who set up Ghee Hiang was originally from Him Heang.


    (August 11, 2005 - 9:48 am)

    din know ghee hiang can be found in so many places! beach road one is HQ is it??


    (August 11, 2005 - 11:39 am)

    babe – Ghee Hiang is now in a spanking new, majestic bungalow. I took a photo before but dunno where I put it. The beach road one is the traditional shop.

    boo – I don’t think so ‘cos Ghee Hiang was famous way before Him Heang. Last time, the brothers from Ghee Hiang used to hang around my office ‘cos they are my boss friend/remisier. If you notice from my sesame oil’s post, I think a Mr Ooi did pop by ‘cos he noticed site traffic from my penang faces. Hope he find this and clarify.


    (August 11, 2005 - 11:53 am)

    I love Beh Teh Saw. There’s one shop in Ipoh that my BIL always buy whenever he’s in town. It was baked with charcoal. Very the nice!!


    (August 11, 2005 - 11:59 am)

    Not sure about which way round it is or whether it’s true but that is what my mother told me when I asked about the Beh Teh Saw that day.

    Sian H Ooi

    (October 22, 2005 - 12:01 pm)

    Hi all! Let me try to put matters to rest especially on the existence of Ghee Hiang. Ghee Hiang has been in existence for nearly 150 years (since 1856) mainly dealing in the Fujian China traditional biscuits and pastries as well as sesame oil.

    No doubt like any other business/trade there are copycats and wannabe’s sprouting around to lay claim to be the poineers and originals. The McCoy’s need those claims to be published in order to have a chance and share of the trade.

    Visit us at to learn more! Ciao!

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