5 Sitiawan Best Gongpia List: Changkat Kruing, Cheong Cia, Sin Lay, Kg Koh, Chengli

GONG PIA.
KOMPIA.
KOMPIANG.

Whatever you call it, these chewy, crispy tasty saucers are irresistible fresh and hot from the ovens!

Instead of being sweet as cookies or biscuit are commonly are, this unique biscuit is savory and fragrant, and thus unique. The texture is crispy (the surface) yet chewy (the inner dough). A close comparison is bagels, and just like bagels it goes hard as rock once cooled.

I had kompian before in Sibu and didn’t enjoy them at all. It was soggy, salty and good grief, greasy.

But this Sitiawan version was delightful.


As you take a bite, the outer crust crumbles.
As you chew, the moist, sweet onions tinged with lard floods your mouth. 
The taste is glorious – crunchy, chewy pastry plus savoury aroma of onions and lard. Mmmmm! 🙂

In 2008 it was RM0.80 for onions and RM0.90 for char stew. Today it is RM1.00 for plain/onions and RM1.20-1.50 for the char siew.

Inflation may have caught up, but these traditional Foochow biscuits are still laborious to make and are still shaped using hands.
Many shops retained the old method of baking using clay ovens too.

No foreign help were in sight and every biscuit is carefully kneaded, rolled, flattened, divided, stuffed with fillings and deftly shaped again into individual biscuits by family members or local help.

Ingredients for gong pia include wheat flour, yeast, salt and lard.
Sorry folks, it is non-halal.

The standard choices are plain, onions and lard or char siew (BBQ pork meat).

BELOW: Once formed into individual biscuits, they are pasted into the inner walls of the heated oven (yes just like how naan are made using the tandoor) where they are baked for a few minutes until they are hard and crispy.

The most famous gongpia maker/shop in Sitiawan is Cheong Pia, right in Sitiawan town.

But to find the “best” (taste is subjective) gong pia, one has to try a few before deciding right? 🙂

Here’s a list of where you can buy these addictive Foochow biscuit (gongpia) from in Ayer/Tawar/Sitiawan/Kampung Koh areas. My guide YS (Yungsen) is a local and grew up eating them. His family lives in Ayer Tawar so he goes back regularly. While they have their favourites, YS bought me to all shops that he knows and allowed me to be my own judge.
So I’ll encourage you to do the same; try them all and decide for yourself which is BEST for YOU.


1. Gongpia at Changkat Kruing


I do not know the name of this shop as YS would refer to it as ‘the one at Changkat Kruing‘. Since I’m a banana (can’t speak nor comprehend Chinese) I could barely converse to the shopkeepers/ sellers. Most of the time I’ll just point and get what I want! 🙂

Like many gong pia shops in Sitiawan, this outlet is popular and the biscuits sold out as soon as they are out of the ovens so pre-booking is essential.

Packing and selling.

This was good!
We didn’t manage to get the char siew version as it was sold out that day.

This was also the only shop that I saw the famous Kampung Koh chilli sold in this packaging. And notice the “100% Pain” and “Keep Fit” labels?
Quite modern marketing and branding for a traditional brand huh? 🙂


2. Cheong Cia


The initiation to the world of FooChow gong pia might have begun here for many folks. This is the famous Cheong Pia and I think one of the reasons that it is more popular than others is due to its location and also because they feature the making process in the open. In keeping with modern times, the family allows photography now. I was told that photography wasn’t allowed before.

Cheong Pia offers only one type of biscuit – the onion and lard version simply because they couldn’t cope with the demand!

ADDRESS:
12, Jalan Tok Perdana,
Setiawan, Perak
Tel No : +6019-5589 288


3. Kedai Kek dan Biskut Sin Lay


I like the gongpia here especially for the meat version. It possesses a spicier taste and thus not just plain sweet BBQ.
The “donut” (plain, chewy sweet bun in the shape of a donut) is nice as well and though the shop isn’t easy to locate nor famous, I can understand its popularity.

 

Kedai Kek dan Biscuit Sin Lay
Directions:  Waze for the Kg. Koh Wet Market (watch out for Pasar Awam Kg. Koh on signboards) Sin Lay is on your right, in the middle of other shophouses.


4. Kampung Koh – only night time


This was the most unique version with such a generous amount of pork within, almost like a patty.
Eating one of these was alike a meal for me, like as if I had a pork burger!

2 versions are offered; one with onions, chives and lard and another is the pork.
As with olden recipes, it was delicious; well seasoned but fatty/greasy as hell.

To locate the shop/house, check out the namecard I’ve included here and you can Waze for “Kampung Koh Corner” too. The house is just opposite it.

ADDRESS: Kampung Koh pork gong pia kompia
aka Diong Hai Loong/Chew Siong Enterprise.
S-1 Jalan Lin Chen Mei.


5. Chengli Biscuits


I honestly can’t remember much about Chengli.
But I’ll revisit in April so I’ll update this post then. From the image of my char siew gongpia, I’m guessing that it was bad and hence I can’t recall much about it. LOL! 😀

 


What is Gong Pia:


A delicious creation, the Gong Pia biscuit is an iconic snack with the original recipe brought to Sitiawan by early Foochow settlers from China. These crispy, chewy flatbreads can be of a few varieties but the popular ones are stuffed with onions and lard or with char siew (minced BBQ pork meat).
The outer skin is crispy while the insides are chewy.

There’s also another that is often called “the donut“, thick bagel-looking with bread-like texture. This humble “donut” isn’t as popular with tourists or as gifts since it is well, plain.

Last but not least, if you are gifted with gong pia or you packed some home, do note that the correct heating method will help you enjoy these gong pia.
Gong Pia lose their crispiness after two or three hours from the time they were baked.

As they are made without preservatives, chill or freeze them until the time to consume. Thaw naturally and heat up your oven.
To restore them to their original state, nothing but an oven will do.

Heat up your oven while you sprinkle some water over the gong pia (top part mostly). Just a light shower will do, do not soak them in water!
Once the oven is hot, put the gong pia in and let it toast for about 3-5 minutes.
Enjoy!

These Gong Pia are usually packed in plastic bags or even paper bags. It may not score high on presentation but whoever you gift them to would surely enjoy them. Just remember to educate your recipients on how to heat them up properly or else they will be cursing you for gifting them rock hard bread!



ADDRESSES for the best gong pia in Sitiawan:


  1. Gong pia at House No. 2501,
    Kampung Bar
    u,
    32500, Changkat Kruing, Perak
    电话:012-3151621 / 012-3610799
  2. Cheong Pia
    12, Jalan Tok Perdana,
    Setiawan, Perak

    Tel No : +6019-5589 288

  3. Kedai Kek dan Biscuit Sin Lay
    Directions:  Waze for the Kg. Koh Wet Market (watch out for Pasar Awam Kg. Koh on signboards) Sin Lay is on your right, in the middle of other shophouses.
  4. Kampung Koh – pork gong pia kompia
    S-1, Jalan Lin Chen Mei
    Jalan Besar Kg Koh
    32000 Sitiawan, Perak.
    012 – 257 0780
  5.  Chengli
    Jalan Desa Aman 5,
    Kampung Koh, Perak.
    Telephone: 016-5444857 / 016-5028557
    OR
    成利饼家 (Chengli biscuit house)
    22, Taman Mas, Kg Koh, 32000 Ipoh, Perak.

WHERE IS AYER TAWAR/SITIAWAN?


If you do not know where Ayer Tawar is, here’s a map – it is about 3 hours drive from KL.