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)