Kitchen & Pantry

Hopia, mochi, nian gao and Jolly Pao Hopia, mochi, nian gao and Jolly Pao

Although Chinatown is only about fifteen minutes by car from the girls’ condo and, in theory, we can go there after picking up the girls every weekend, “theory” is a far cry from reality. Traffic in Chinatown is horrible and parking is an absolute nightmare. So, on the rare times that we muster the courage to venture into Chinatown, we make the most of it. For instance, that night we were at President Grand Palace? Dinner wasn’t the only thing on the agenda. We were going to the shops to buy Chinese delicacies to bring home. For some people, buying Chinese delicacies means going to Salazar Bakery. For others, it means a visit to Polland Hopia and Bakery. For me, it’s Eng Bee Tin beside Binondo Church.

What did we buy? Let’s start with the Jolly Pao, something I had not seen prior to last Saturday.

They are sweet buns with sweet bean filling. They are sold frozen in bags of twelve. The reheating instructions said steam for eight minutes and they’re ready to eat. The burst of color on the Jolly Pao isn’t merely ornamental. Each color denotes the flavor of the sweet bean filling inside. Mocha is for coffee, green is for pandan, orange is for carrot (I think)… The buns are very light and soft, the filling pleasantly but not overly sweet. They’re good!

The following photos were taken by Sam which should explain why they’re whimsical. The bear is hers. Hopia, mochi, nian gao and Jolly Pao

Above is the mochi, pounded glutinous rice cake. Although mochi is traditionally considered a Japanese delicacy, its numerous versions are found in many Asian countries. The mochi we bought had sweet bean paste filling in different flavors. Soft, chewy, sticky and utterly delicious. The experience is like eating a sticky cloud. Hopia, mochi, nian gao and Jolly Pao

Next comes the mochipia, a combination of hopia and mochi.

Hopia is, of course, the smaller and cheaper version of the esteemed, highly revered and very pricey mooncake.

Eng Bee Tin sells mochipia in several flavors.

This is buko-pandan flavored hopia with ube (purple yam) flavored mochi at the center. It’s an attention grabbing novelty, no doubt, but I really don’t see what the mochi center contributes to the hopia. I prefer to eat my hopia and mochi separately.

We also bought a couple of packs of tikoy rolls.

Tikoy is nian gao. The tikoy rolls aren’t fried, however.

They come ready to eat — rolled, jelly roll style, with a sweet bean center. Very filling, very satisfying, very addictive.

What else? Were those all that we brought home? Nope, not by a far stretch. There was a bag of macapuno balls, a bag of yema, pinipig bars and crispy squid — some of which got eaten in the car and all of which did not make it to the photo shoot the following day.

To Top