It’s one of the most underrated yet seriously craved for snacks in this part of the world: flattish cakes made of flaky pastry encasing things like sweet bean paste or yam paste and cooked on a flat griddle till browned on both sides. This is hopia, a small, sweet cake that has been popular as a snack in Southeast Asia since the beginning of the 20th Century when Chinese immigrants from Fujian province devised the pastry as an alternative to heavier rice cakes and dumplings to go with tea.
Chinese-Filipino bakery Eng Bee Tin, the shop with the ubiquitous purple facade (even their mall stalls are a deep purple!), has been selling hopia in virtually all its delicious variants for much longer than even my folks can remember. You have your classic sweet white mung bean (monggo) paste-filled discs, those filled with purple yam [ube], the slightly savory kind made with scallions, candied wintermelon, and pork fat (hopia baboy), and even the cuboid sort with the doughier skins cooked on a buttered griddle (dice hopia). And now, to push the envelope further, they are offering custard-filled hopia.
Referred to as the Classic Custard Hopia, this particular cake features the classic flaky lard-pastry surface but features a deliciously creamy and rich creme patisserie within. (It would really have to be the creme rather than a true cream-based custard because it wouldn’t hold up at room temperature.) The filling is eggy and melts smoothly in one’s mouth, going beautifully with the slightly salty taste of the pastry encasing it. At P 48.00 – 50.00 a pack (depending on where you get it), I consider it something of an everyday indulgence. 🙂
Oh, and check out the add. It claims that chilling custard hopia is bound to give you the chills because it tastes so gosh-darned good…