There’s another famous biscuit that comes from Perak, and it’s the chicken biscuit.
It contains zero real chicken, but has all the beauty of chicken flavouring. It also contains nam yu, a type of red coloured fermented bean curd, sesame seeds, sugar, maltose, winter melon, spices and a healthy dose of lard. It’s a far cry from the salty Western option in the form of Nabisco’s Chicken in a Biscuit.
The chicken biscuit comes in two forms, a thick and chewy one, and the thin and crispy one.
When I was growing up, the thick, chewy version seemed to be the only type available. Later on, I was introduced to the thin and crispy one.
But on my recent trip up to Ipoh, I found mostly thin and crispy options. Only the chicken biscuits from Pun Chun had both chewy and crispy versions.
From loving the chewy one when I was young, I moved my preference to the crispy one, as the chewy one seemed to have too much lard for my liking, but now, my love for the chewy version has returned. If memory doesn’t fail me, I believe there is less lard now in the chewy version, than compared to that in the past.
Again, like heong peah, there are many brands available and I picked up packets wherever I happened to be.
On the table, we have Yee Thye (who also makes heong peah), CB, Loke Kee and two versions from Pun Chun in Bidor.
These are what the biscuits look out of the packet.
Armed with two glasses of water, I started my tasting session.
Eyeing the Chicken Biscuit
Comparing the crispy versions, the biscuits from Yee Thye and Loke Kee are pretty similar in terms of the look. The roughest one comes from CB. And the smoothest is from Pun Chun.
Yee Thye and Loke Kee have the most sesame seeds in them. Yee Thye has a strange reddish hue that I don’t associate with chicken biscuits.
Only the chewy version is glazed.
Tasting the Chicken Biscuit
Besides CB’s chicken biscuits, and being slightly dubious about Yee Thye’s chilli chicken biscuits, the other two brands are acceptable.
Loke Kee’s biscuit leans slightly more to hard than crunchy. It had a slightly burnt flavour due to it being slightly overcooked. Because of that, it masked the other flavours of the biscuit.
Loke Kee’s chicken biscuit costs RM2.20 for 8 pieces.
CB may describe itself as a “confectioner’s collection” but the biscuit is far from being that.
Indeed, the open structure of the biscuit, meant this hole-y confection would not hold and most of the biscuits broke with much collapsing into rough sandy crumbs.
The biscuit was overall, very oily when picked up. Upon eating it, an unpleasant waxy layer covered the surface of my mouth.
Upon closer inspection, I found traces of solidified fat at the base of the biscuit, the cause of that nasty waxy feeling. As the biscuit was out at room temperature, it’s not lard, because lard is liquid at room temperature in these parts.
Taste-wise, this biscuit lacked any of the flavours associated with chicken biscuits and was too sweet. The high sugar content probably also caused the biscuit to be hard.
I did not like CB’s interpretation of the chicken biscuit at all.
As CB’s chicken biscuits cost the same as Loke Kee’s, you’re better off having those.
It became apparent to me why Yee Thye’s chicken biscuits had a red hue after I bit into them. It contains chilli. I do not know how I managed to pick one up with chilli.
At RM3 for 8 pieces, it is the most expensive cripsy chicken biscuit. And I’m not sure if chilli and nam yu make the best combination. Some other tasters did like it, however.
The biscuit came in a plain pack that was sealed, before being placed into the packet you see in the photo. So it came as a surprise to me why the biscuit was soft. Could it be that I had left it sitting on the plate too long while formulating my thoughts?
I tried another biscuit. Nope, it was also slightly soft. Sitting out in the air had made it worse.
From the famous restaurant in Bidor, comes the equally famous chicken biscuits in two forms. I’ll talk about the thin crispy version first.
It is the least sweet of the lot and doesn’t shine on the surface because of the combination of fat and sugar. This one has a nice crunch to it. It’s a good representation of what I remember chicken biscuits to be. It has a stronger maltose flavour than that of Loke Kee.
For 12 pieces, it’ll set you back RM3.
The thick chewy version stands on its own. The chunky version retails at RM3.80 for 6 pieces. Eat this with a good appetite, because this one is filling.
The lard taste is more obvious in this biscuit, but I can’t actually see the lumps of lard as I could when I was a child. Crunch through the outer crust and you hit the inside that is soft chewy and sweet and lovely. The experience is totally different from eating the crispy version. The chunkiness makes you feel like you’re chomping through the meat of real chicken.
But make sure you get it as fresh as possible. Some packets that I’d acquired were not as crunchy on the outside.
What to get now?
You really cannot go wrong with the biscuits from Pun Chun, based on the round up here. However, I think, out of the packet, you are going to get a more reliable experience from the crispy rather than the chewy version.
Loke Kee’s biscuit is decent, but not impressive.
If you like it spicy, Yee Thye’s is an option, but I personally didn’t find it that good.
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