Tang Yuan (Kuih Ee) in Penang

Posted: October 6, 2009 in Food, Penang
Tags: , , , ,

Tang Yuan4

Tang Yuan (or kuih ee in Hokkien as Andrea insists on calling it) is a traditional Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice flour and water. It’s probably what every child played with before there was even Play Dough. I remember getting all excited when Mum would allow me to help her make it and having to wash my hands carefully before being allowed to roll the dough into sticky, marble sized balls. After a while, I’d usually get bored and make different shapes (my favourites were snakes and snowmen). Mum would then inspect my finished products with a critical eye, grumble about how they were of uneven size and swoop the snakes/snowmen back into the mound of dough.

So when a friend recommended a stall located just opposite Traders Hotel (the old Shang Gri La) in town, that sells one of the best tang yuan in Penang, I was curious about whether it’d taste the same as the sweet stuff of my childhood memories.

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They offer a few variations of tang yuan. The basics are are the plain glutinous flour ones around the size of marbles and served in a hot, sugary syrup. They weren’t perfectly round but it’s understandable given how busy they were. Thes best way I can think of to describe it to people trying it out for the first time is that it tastes like gummy bears, the texture is pretty similar to the bubbles that you’d find in pearl milk tea.

Tang Yuan


Tang Yuan2..

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To my delight, they also offer the larger variety that were filled with peanuts & sesame that was perfect when served in a syrup made with brown sugar and ginger. The ginger adds a bit of bite and surprisingly went well with the filled tang yuan. You can also request for the sugar syrup to be served with or without ginger.

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Personally, I prefer the one without ginger caused they taste like bird nest….. 🙂

here’s the map


  1. zmm says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. We were there on the 16th night (Friday). They didn’t open! Sigh.

  2. […] highlight of the night was supposed to be the Tang Yuan stall directly opposite Traders Hotel. We were saving our stomach for this. Alas! The place was closed […]

  3. […] Girls were all excited when we reached the hotel. When we got into our room, they immediately rushed to the bed to jump. Something they always do on hotel beds! We had to drag them out of the room to head across the road to have some Tang Yuan. […]

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