A friend recommended me this confectionery for its signature ‘Horse Hoof Pastry’ aka Beh Teh Sor or 馬蹄酥 a couple of years ago when we headed to Pagi Sore Indonesian Restaurant (just next door to this shop) for dinner.
Tan Hock Seng specialises in traditional Hokkien pastries which I think are seriously at risk of extinction because similar confectioneries are getting lesser by the years and such pastry making skills are not handed over to younger generations to carry on the legacy which is a big loss.
Tan Hock Seng has been around for more than 70 years here. And it still maintains this old school charm with its makeshift cardboard boxes as storage containers and handwritten signs. They have a good variety of pastries like tau sar piah, pong piah, lao po bing, white cake, green bean cake & more. Not forgetting our childhood favourites like the tri-coloured wafer-thin biscuits and fancy gems biscuits.
Even though I was here on a Saturday afternoon and Telok Ayer Street (and the entire Far East Square area) was just quiet, I could see cars pulling over to the roadside with passengers heading to the shop to grab packs of fresh-from-the-oven Beh Teh Sor.
Many people are often mistaken that the Beh Teh Sor is made with a water chestnut filling because of the word 馬蹄 in its name which literally means ‘horse hoof’ or ‘water chestnut’. Actually, the name 馬蹄酥 is derived from its appearance that resembles a horse hoof and it is a flaky pastry with a sweet and salty filling and contains no traces of water chestnut at all. The filling is actually made from malt sugar, toasted sesame seeds and fried shallots.
The biscuits were all warm when we bought from the shop and the husband and I couldn’t resist having one each the moment we walked out. And I felt bad for ‘dirtying’ the ground as the flaky pastry peeled off so easily as we took each bite. So fresh with this lovely golden brown skin on the exterior! I love! It was crispy yet it kind of melted in the mouth. The skin was thin, light and tasty. The sticky filling wasn’t overly sweet (perfect!) and it had a lovely nutty flavour from the sesame seeds and this really fragrant taste of fried shallots. A lot of shallots went into this! Definitely one of the best Beh Teh Sor in Singapore!
Even when we brought home that night to eat and they were no longer warm as earlier, they tasted equally good! For the English husband who doesn’t really appreciate Chinese pastries as much as I do, he still gave this a thumbs up!
I bought these honeycomb biscuits as well as I haven’t had them for ages. This is made by coating a special mould in a simple batter of egg, sugar, coconut milk and flour and then deep frying it till golden brown and crispy. These biscuits may feel a little greasy on the fingers but they are addictive with a nice eggy flavour to it. Good thing about them was that the oil they were fried in was fresh unlike some other honeycomb biscuits where you get this horrible taste from reused oil that has turned bad. So thumbs up for this as well. It’d be something I’d come back for.
Tan Hock Seng Cake Shop
#01-01, Far East Square
86 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: 6533 1798