Ghee Hiang Changing With The Times

One of the places that Wuan and I will invariably head to whenever we are in Penang is Ghee Hiang at the corner between Macalister Road and Anson Road. For as long as I can remember, the name Ghee Hiang is synonymous with tau sar pneah, hneoh pneah and sesame seed oil. It has become an institution in Penang at par with the famous Penang hawker food. My late-parents used to patronise the shop at Beach Street whenever they were there to do their banking at Chung Khiaw Bank many years ago.

Ghee Hiang at Macalister Road
Ghee Hiang at Macalister Road, Penang.
Photo by Wuan.

Wuan and I are fond of the hneoh peah which according to the Ghee Hiang website is “melted brown sugar is wrapped around with flaky wheat pastries.” Wuan also likes phong peah which is “light fluffy pastry with white sugar.” William likes heoh pneah which is “fluffy pastry with green bean paste filling.” These are the pastries that we never fail to bring back to Kuala Lumpur from our trips to Penang.

Ghee Hiang at Macalister Road
Ghee Hiang tau sar pneah.
Photo by Wuan.

Our trip to Penang last week was no exception. We dropped in at the shop Beach Street as we were in the vicinity. Unfortunately, they only had tau sar pneah and phong pneah. So we drove all the way to Macalister Road to get heoh pneah for ourselves. We do not mind going the distance as it is not often that we get to savour these pastries. The only thing about Penang roads is that they are mostly one way streets and we had to drive one big round to reach the shop.

Ghee Hiang at Macalister Road
Ghee Hiang delivery motorcycle.
Photo by Wuan.

The pastries are now sealed in plastic wrappers unlike previously when all the pastries were just neatly arranged in the box without any wrapping. That was not all. What really indicated the changing of times that Ghee Hiang has convincingly embraced was a yellow motorcycle parked at the shop. It was painted yellow and had a box at the back with the Ghee Hiang mascot and a 1300 number to call for delivery. I remember many years ago one has to make advanced booking through phone to be able to secure a box or two of the pastries. It was literally selling like hot cakes then. Nowadays, one can just walk in and buy without the hassle of booking beforehand and now a motorcycle for delivery. Times are changing indeed.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. Columnist of Breaking Barriers in The Borneo Post. Principal Trainer at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

7 thoughts on “Ghee Hiang Changing With The Times”

  1. IMO, the Him Heang tambun biskut is better. Shop is along Burmah Road opposite
    the Union Primary School.

    On another note, I was also back in Penang last Merdeka weekend. Enjoyed the “or chien” (fried oyster) and char koay teow at New World park, Swatow Lane.

    Peter:
    Taste is very subjective. What tastes good to one may taste bland to another. Anyway, tau sar pneah is not my favourite. I prefer hneoh pneah and beh teh saw. And my favourite beh teh saw comes from Ipoh.

  2. Ghee Hiang is my preferred brand for Tau Sar Pneah especially the larger version as it tends to be more moist and smells and tastes great.The plastic packing asures freshness and longer shelf life.It also prevents overeating at one go!
    The house in McCalister road used to belong to my father’s best friend.I like the heoh pneah they make too- not hard and doesn’t give you a tooth ache after eating unlike the ones you get elsewhere.Heat it up before eating and you will be rewarded with a crumbly pastry and soft flavourful inside- heavenly.I don’t buy it so often nowadays as my family doesn’t like it.How sad.
    If you remember, tau sar pneah used to be wrapped up in rolls printed in red or blue denoting sweet or salty.

    Peter:
    Those big tau sar pneah wrapped in rolls are still available. I like the one sold at Pesgrave Street.

  3. I like eat tau sar pheah when i was kids..it’s from Ghee Hiang..still remember last time it row by the paper…now they pack in the plastic…i felt it is convenience..first, the shell life can stay long..second..no ant…

    For Him Heang, actually i like the taste also…(for me all the tau sar pheah is same=P)
    But i dun like their services…they very rough..parking also got problem…i got experience is like the gal ask in very rought way..then if u bought 1box they like show their “pao kong” face to u…wat the h*** i am consumer le…

    Turn back, Ghee Hiang services now become better and better..although sometimes a lot of ppl they will mad and a bit blur but still…i can forgive them coz compare to Him Heang service..i will forgive them…=)

    Peter:
    Parking is definitely better at Ghee Hiang with its large compound. But the lack of parking is not stopping people, especially outstation visitors from flocking to Him Heang. If someone gives me his pao kong face for buying just one box, you can be sure that I will never ever return to that shop.

  4. ya..i kena pao kong face once…not going back anymore…=(

    Peter:
    They should realize that now is not like last time. There are more choices and apart from the goods, we also want good service.

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