August 8, 2011

SQUARE Biscuits (Soda Biscuits)

The other day I had a chance to share some coffee in a small kitchen with some ladies. During fasting month we have to be careful not to be seen eating ...we should not eat in front of our Muslim co-workers to be appropriate and politically correct.

It was lovely having a simple brunch of square biscuits and plain coffee.



An old tin like this is often the best air tight container for biscuits - rats and ants won't go into the tin. And it is really air tight and clean - especially when the biscuits are also put into nice plastic bags!!
A close-up of my all time favourite biscuit - cheap and very healthy.
The lovely biscuits...Square biscuits...Si Kerk Bian (Foochow Pinyin)

Memories flood back....

During the days when we lived in the Rajang villages we did not have easy access to town food (e.g. bread which was then considered European food) and shop cooked food. Grandparents bought for us tinned food to supplement our own farm grown fresh vegetables and meat.

One memorable snack was the biscuits in tins.

In those days those who lived in towns could buy Jacob's biscuits in the English styled tins also. There were different types of colonial biscuits available in shops like Kim Guan Siang.

But we mere mortals had the ordinary biscuits sold in big Asian tins.

We had a full tin or half tin of biscuits. The full tin of biscuits would be slowly portioned out and consumed slowly. We even counted how many each should get...no more no less. Six pieces would be enough for each child and they would be broken to pieces and soaked in Milo or just plain bowl of condensed milk mixed with warm water..The latter way of eating is similar to our morning cereal today.

Those whose parents had more money would spread a lot of condensed milk and even butter. Sometimes I would still do this as it is such a comfort food when my blood sugar reading is perfect. It can be such a treat (but far in between).

Half tin of biscuits would be purchased by smaller families. In terms of budgetting in those days a smaller tin would be considered slightly more expensive. But then buying a bigger tin would also mean that some of the biscuits would go to waste when they softened because someone would forget to close the tin tightly......

My grandmother and aunts would stack the empty biscuit tins in the kitchen neatly and re-use them for storing many different things. In our present days of plenty most homes have Tupperware and other good and expensive containers.

However from experience the Foochow noodles (mee sua) are best kept in the big tins!!

Eating square biscuits with a bunch of chatty friends is a good way of spending a meaningful Monday morning and thinking about old times...

Wai makai roti soda (Iban)....hey peng yu...li siak si kerk bian (Foochow).....Let's have a soda biscuit break!!

Have a great morning!!

7 comments:

Ann said...

We Cantonese call them Soda Bian.

I liked them dry either butter or margarine.

Daniel Yiek said...

From wikipedia

A saltine or soda cracker is a thin, usually square cracker made from white flour, shortening, yeast, and baking soda, with most varieties lightly sprinkled with coarse salt. It has perforations throughout its surface, to allow steam to escape for uniform rising, and along the edges, as individual crackers are broken from larger sheets during manufacturing.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann...yes Soda bian...so nice...I learned to use them in an interesting recipe...layer corned beef in between buttered soda biscuits in a square tin. When the tin is filled up with layers of biscuits and minced beef pour in adequate milk to soak the biscuits. Leave the biscuits to soak in the milk for half an hour.

Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes...and you have an interesting Sarawak savoury pudding...

Simply delicious.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Thanks Daniel for the info...lovely description!!

Didn't you grow up with soda biscuits? But Osborne biscuits were different. The Foochows used to say they bit the Osborne biscuits until their teeth drop out..(Nga kii ga lurk ko loh...) hahahahahbecause the osborne biscuits were so hard.

Daniel Yiek said...

soda pia with Milo drink - mama mia

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hahah..I thought you might be too young to have memories of this favourite biscuit of ours...we mama mia...sweet Lord! What a biscuit!!

mary wong said...

thanks for the info of what a soda biscuit is.......it was recommended in one of my cake recipe book, and i was looking high and low of what this biscuit is........
now i know the biscuit that i was looking for is all the while always available at home.....remains my all time favourite biscuit..........dip with coffee or milo.....by the way iam a sarawakian living in KL...........thanls again........