[Penang, Malaysia] Ham Chim Peng and Pak Thong Ko on Cintra Street

The Yee family are 3rd-generation owners of this 75-year-old stall on Cintra Street offering “ham chim peng”: Cantonese-style doughy pancakes stuffed with red bean paste or glutinous rice, and “pak thong ko”: steamed Cantonese rice flour cakes.

Owner-cook, Yee Kok Heng, 56, runs the business together with his wife, Tan Bee Khim, 46, plus two of his 7 siblings. He took charge of the business started by his grandfather who emigrated to Penang from Swatow, China, after World War II and during the Chinese civil war about 75 years ago.

Yee Kok Heng’s younger brother, Yee Kok Fai, handles the frying - plain “ham chim peng” are sprinkled with 5-spice powder. Glutinous rice is steamed before being enfolded in dough for the “kap chung”, and red beans were mashed for “ham chim peng” with “tau sar” filling.

Kok Heng’s daughter, Yee Ean Shan, 26, takes charge of selling the “ham chim peng” and “pak thong ko” when the stall opens from around 6pm daily.

Unmissable - the little stall selling “ham chim peng” and “pak thong ko” has been standing on this spot on Cintra Street for more than seven decades.

The Yee family, headed by Yee Kok Heng, consisted of 8 siblings, two of whom are now assisting Kok Heng to run the business started by their grandfather, together with Kok Heng’s wife, Tan Bee Khim.

"Kap chung" - dough fritters with salty glutinous rice centres.

Sesame seed-studded “ham chim peng” with red bean paste (“tau sar”) filling and “kap chung” with glutinous rice.

"Pak thong ko" are moist steamed rice flour cakes

"Jin deui" - crisp, sesame-studded fritters with either lotus paste, crushed peanuts or desiccated coconut filling.

The stall is located on Cintra Street, near the intersection with Campbell Street. It’s adjacent to the popular Tai Thong dim sum restaurant.

The stall opens from 6pm each day and, officially, only closes during the Chinese New Year period. But, being a family business, they sometimes close without prior notice.

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Would love to try the 2 puffy, (airy?) fried dough things.

Do the spongy steamed rice flour cakes contain coconut milk? I had it before but couldn’t eat it (anymore) due to coconut milk/cream intolerance.

No, not the Penang ones. But their Vietnamese counterpart - the bánh bò does contain coconut milk,

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Oh, I see. Then I can eat the Penang version.

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