Heong Peah (in Hokkien or Heong Peng in Cantonese) literally means fragrant pastries in English. They are ubiquitous in Ipoh. Many tourists from around Malaysia (and overseas) flock to the city to buy them. These pastries can be bought in other parts of Malaysia and Singapore, but nothing compares to their city of origin, Ipoh. The flattened-liked pastry balls made with a crumbly baked crust are available in countless stores around this truly Asian limestone mountain city. Heong Peah have become so popular that tourists to Ipoh even buy them as souvenirs, especially the Malaysian Chinese community.
Heong Peah Cooking Process
The original Heong Peah has a sweet sticky filling made from malt and small onions (shallots). They were traditionally cooked in a kiln using coconut husks, instead of charcoal. Today the electric oven is more commonplace and there a greater choice of flavours from strawberry and durian to pandan leaves and even coffee.
The area, Gunung Rapat, means ‘Close Hills’ in English. Literally translated it can mean ‘Mountain Meeting’. This is an apposite name for a neighbourhood found intimately close to a series of limestone hills connected to one another. This special place in Ipoh is synonymous with two things: caves and biscuits.
Gunang Rapat features six cave temples:
Kwan Yin Tong Cave Temple
Sam Poh Tong Temple
Ling Sen Tong Temple
Kek Lok Tong Temple
Tokong Da Seng Ngan Temple
Nam Thean Tong Temple
But Gunung Rapat is not just famous for its profusion of cave temples. It is also the original home of one of Ipoh’s most famous bakery products – heong peah. This fragrant biscuit is also known as heong peng. Gunung Rapat and Ipoh’s flaky delicacy are intrinsically linked.