Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ham Chim Peng

In the past, I've referred to the deep fried round Chinese bread as hang jing bian. I don't even know how to say it properly and so when I tried to type it out phonetically, it came out wrong. I've come to realize that the proper spelling of is ham chim peng (or bánh tiêu in Vietnamese). No wonder google never came up with anything.

It's been quite a while since I last walked down Somerset St W, but earlier this week I made the trip twice and ended up buying some ham chim peng at the Kowloon Market. Like many Chinese bakeries, be sure to get six items in the bakery and they won't charge you taxes.

The ones I bought were plain. I never knew there were red bean-filled and glutinous rice-filled kinds. I've never seen it in Ottawa or even Toronto and Montreal.

The way I heated these up for breakfast was how I normally reheat pizza; microwave it for about twenty seconds before toasting it in the toaster oven. While the toaster oven was busy heating those up, I boiled some water and made some strong coffee.

Normally when these are toasted, the bread sweats off some oil. But the batch I got was skillfully fried and wasn't heavy with grease. Impressive.

It's tough to describe the flavour of ham chim peng, since this particular batch had a mild flavour. Even when we went to Hong Kong, the ham chim peng tasted similar (though they were really greasy then). Whenever my mom has attempted to make this (here and here), her dough was a traditional yeast dough, whereas this dough is different. The sesame seeds on these discs of carb were toasted and fragrant. I'm not sure if they pre-toasted the sesame seeds prior to adding them or if the bakery just fried the dough in a lower temperature. Whatever they did, these were great!

As kids, we were never allowed to drink coffee unless there was youtiao or ham chim peng for dunking. Even when Lucy and I have grown into our twenties, we still enjoy strong, sweet coffee with our youtiao and ham chim peng.

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