February 18, 2013

Manga Tong (MaiYa Tang) Chinese Maltose Sweets

In the 1950's most of the Foochow biscuit shops sold a special candy called Mang Nga Tong. When Fox's, Mentos, Cadbury came to the town, the Mang Nga Tong went off the shelf. Today few people below the age of 40 would know it.

Mang Nga Tong is a hard maltose candy with sesame ,ginger  and other flavours. The sweet is made by first melting maltose, then adding to it various ingredients and continuously stirring the mixture. Before the mixture solidifies, it is put on a metal stick and pulled into a line shape, then coiled into the shape of a plate. (Information from Wikipedia)

 The biscuit shops of Sibu wrapped these finger shaped candies in white kite paper. And they were sold individually to those who want to buy them. In fact these candies were also part of Christmas and Wedding snack packages.

Very recently I was delighted when Chempaka Buddhist Lodge in Petaling Jaya (Selangor) held a food fair and a young lady demonstrated how maltose candy was made. Here is a lovely, very up to date photo of Mang Nga Tong.  I actually had to explain to my sister's classmate the history of this candy.

The Maltose candy is nicely wrapped in transparent plastic and labelled with their flavours. Legends have it that the Kitchen God must be presented with this candy so that he would make good reports to the God of Heaven.

according to the creator of the sweets/candies, she only makes these candies whenever there is a food promotion. She has come back from Taiwan where she learned the art of sweet making.

It is good that she can help revive the popularity of this old style candy in KL.

Lovely Maltose candies in different flavours.

Jay Chou wrote a song dedicated to this candy. "Mai Ya Tang"

If only Sibu biscuit shops can sell this candy again.

The experience in Petaling Jaya brought back a lot of good memories of Old Sibu. Days of Grandmother's love came fleeting back.

(Photo by Sarawakiana)


Anonymous said...

I think is the samething

The man who sold us his 'Manga Tong' actually came with a hammer and chisel! It was so hard he would break his knife!

ANd to attract attention/buyers, he would use his hammer to hammer on his bicycle handle and make the ting, ting, ting sounds.

Are we really that old Sarawakiana?? I am sure my niece and nephews do not know about this snack either!

Thanks again for bringing back another childhood memories!



Anonymous said...

i have problem in understanding our culture. recently, so many photos were published about scouping up something in the food during Chinese new year. However, I don't think this one is Foochow culture. It must have come in from West Malaysia and likely a Cantonese culture. Can some one confirm this?

it is written in Mandarin as 捞生

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Cindy, thanks for writing. How are you? It seems that more than 45 years have passed since Mang Nga Tong had been sold in the streets of Sibu!! That
's a long time indeed. I can still remember the fragrance. Nice to know that we have shared memories.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Taken from Wikipedia .....The modern yusheng dish debut during Lunar New Year of 1964 in Singapore's Lai Wah Restaurant (Established in Sept. 1963). [[2]] It was created by four master chefs namely: Than Mui Kai (Tham Yu Kai, co-head chef of Lai Wah Restaurant), Lau Yoke Pui (co-head chef of Lai Wah Restaurant), Hooi Kok Wai (Founder of Dragon-Phoenix Restaurant) and Sin Leong (Founder of Sin Leong Restaurant), as a symbol of prosperity and good health amongst the Chinese [[3]] . All four Chefs were named as the "Four Heavenly Culinary Kings" of Singapore some 40 years ago for their culinary prowess and ingenuity.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

In 1970s, Lai Wah Restaurant started the modern-day method of serving Yu Sheng with a pre-mixed special sauce comprising plum sauce, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil --- instead of customers mixing inconsistently-concocted sauce. [[13]]

Anonymous said...

I checked the Chinese version of wikipedia. It said this is a Cantonese dish. This practice is typical to Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore.

Foochow in rural Sibu just follow the practice of the big cities

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Anonymous, you are correct. This is Cantonese. Lou Sang is Cantonese term ...Very popular amongst the rich in Hong Kong and Singapore and KL. Now followed in Sarawak by the political parties and VIPS...
Nope, Simple Foochows do not do that. I don't practise it.

reana claire said...

Those days when I was young, sweets were very common and popular among the kids and adults.. but nowadays, with all the Internet and information about staying healthy, all these sweets are not so demanding anymore, I guess... but as you said, it really brings back old memories.. I remember sweets like "sui kam tong"... a round sweet wrapped with transparent paper with all types of colours, those are no more sold these days, right?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Reana Claire, Thanks for writing. Yes indeed we had very simple sweets in the past. Home made or made by the local biscuit shops. Then came the western goodies like Chocolate and toffees. Our hard sweets, and your Sui Kam Tong went off the shelves!! Change in life style and also media influence. Nowadays my kids love nougat, another wave of sweets. But the rabbit sweets from China are still popular.

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