Malaysian Snack Attack

continued (page 2 of 2)

The Chicken-Flavored:

Pun Chun Restaurant Chicken Biscuits

As it turns out, there is actually a Pun Chun Restaurant, a Chinese eatery in the city of Bidor. Since the restaurant has been around for some 70 years, I suppose that its kai jai peng, as the chicken biscuits are known, may be Malaysia’s oldest packaged snack. The dense, mooncake-like biscuits were packed with fermented bean curd, winter melon, lard, eggs, sugar and, of course, chicken flavoring. Since I devoured an entire bag of them before the shoot, they don’t appear in the above photo; I like to think of them as the crack cocaine of mooncakes. Which was too bad for me, since my hookup wouldn’t have any available for months—and too bad for my chef friends, since the biscuits were long gone by the time we did our group tasting.

Mister Muruku Chicken Flavoured Muruku

My least favorite of the poultry-based snacks, these muruku are shaped like Fritos, although somewhat narrower and crunchier (no doubt because they’re made from a mixture of rice and chickpea flour). They tasted like—you guessed it—chicken, but with a not-unpleasant chili kick.

CB Chicken Biscuits

Even though their stark pink-and-white packaging bore the phrase “A Confectioner’s Collection,” these biscuits weren’t nearly as good as those from Pun Chun. More of a savory brittle than a mooncake, the sweet-and-salty sesame-studded chunks contained so much fat in them that they left our palates coated. “I could eat that all day,” said Goldfarb, the only one in our group who warmed up to this snack. A peek at the Nutrition Facts reveals that a 25-gram serving supplies 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat—which seemed to make even Goldfarb a little uneasy.

Subscribe to Gourmet