Yesterday Chef Chi Chi Ong came back from Beijing and gave me two boxes of hopia. On the same day Chef Charlie came back from Quiapo with our favorite hopia. I am a true sucker for this flaky Chinese pastry so today I am inspired to write about it.
Charlie discovered for us the best hopia in Manila. It is found in a store called Kim Chong Tin along Palanca Street in Quiapo. Why do we rate it as the best? Excellente Ham is considered one of the best locally produced Chinese style ham in the country. I’m assuming the hopia shop owner uses the lard or drippings from Excellente Ham (a few doors away) in making the dough. This innocent looking pastry stuffed with yellow mung bean and red eggs has the earthy and smokey flavors of ham. Baked in a traditional pugon oven it is best eaten hot because it is high in cholesterol. The culinary delight is worth only P15 a piece !
Photos of Beijing dao xiang cun pastries
My love affair with hopia started when I went to China to visit a culinary school. In Beijing I was made to realize that there is so much more to this inexpensive Chinoy comfort food. The art of pastry making is given high regard in Imperial cuisine. Ever since then I have treated hopia with respect.
In Asia life is like a box of hopia…you never know what you’re going to get. Here are examples of the varieties:
Crust: Baked, fried, steamed. The dough can be made with shortening of vegetable oil or lard. Vegetable oil for vegans. Hopia baboy means made from pork fat.
Fillings can be the following:
Salted Yolk ( required in moon cake)
Paste made from: azuki beans, mung beans, red beans, black beans, Jujube paste made from dates, candied winter melon, taro
Seeds: lotus, walnut, pumpkin, watermelon, sesame, and poppy seeds
Nuts:almonds, peanuts, walnut, coconut
Fruits: prunes , pineapples, lychee, durian
Made into different shapes and sizes. Wooden molds are used for Chinese imprints.