The roots of ham chim paeng are unclear, but these fried rounds of dough are a popular snack nonetheless.
Before we had Dunkin, Big Apple and Krispy Kreme, there was ... Hum Chim Paeng.
THERE’S just a dull hum to its name – so let’s just call the Hum Chim Paeng, HCP. No fashionista worth her Jimmy Choo’s would be caught brown bagging it; it’s one of those street foods undeserving of a second look and taken for granted.
But this “salty fried dough” with no apparent history is probably a Malaysian original. A doughnut we can call our own, found ostensibly, as comedian Harith Iskandar would say, “only in Malaysia and Singapore.”
Whodonnut? No one has come forth to claim its creatorship.
It is often sold alongside the Chinese crullers; perhaps the Youtiao seller added it to his repertoire as selling just the fried breadsticks was not sustainable.
It doesn’t take a Curly Fu to deduce that it probably has something to do with the Cantonese – HCP seems to only have a Cantonese handle.
Foodies have gone nuts over the Cronut (a croissant and doughnut hybrid) and Wonut (a Waffle and doughnut hybrid); perhaps if we call HCP the Cantonut, it might win some brownie points.
While not as versatile in its applications as the Youtiao, it is enjoyed as widely, and comes in several variants. So we have the Five Fragrance Cantonut; Red Bean Cantonut, and Sticky Rice Cantonut?
Next, to create a cantata for it; Cantopop will do, too.