Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kim Chong Tin Hopia Factory

Kim Chong Tin Hopia Factory on Carlos Palanca Street (formerly Echague) in Quiapo, remains to this day the best hopia producer in Metro Manila – better than Polland’s and Eng Bee Tin's. 

Its various fillings – from mongo bean paste to baboy (made of candied winter melon, green onions and pork fat) are incredibly delectable. And this is the only hopia store in Metro Manila that sells the most scrumptious mini hopias.   

And one of the secrets of this hopia factory, according to Pam Obieta of the Cooking Class, is that the bakers use the lard or drippings from the ham products sold at 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 store looks sparse, but that's because they bake as needed; hence, their hopias are always fresh right off the oven.  Also, the bulk of their business is the hopia filling, which is sold per kilo to various bake shops nationwide.  Its current manager is the affable great grandson of the original owner.

My father started taking me here when I was a kid.  We used to buy a few bags to bring home as Saturday afternoon merienda.  And as a teenager, I used to grab a bag of mini hopias and a can of soda here before buying a ticket to one of the movie theaters along Rizal Avenue.  

According to the Web site Ang Saraphopia was introduced to the Philippines by the Fujian Chinese during the American occupation.  It came from the Chinese word ho-pian which means “good biscuit”, it is nearly similar to moon cake wherein a pastry is filled with a sweet paste, and it is also traditionally given as a gift.  

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a delicious treat, Eric. And your childhood memories make it even better. The true definition of 'Soul Food'.