Chinese Sweetheart Cake


Sweetheart Cake
Growing up in Medan where Chinese culture is pretty much intact, we always had traditional Chinese snacks at home and one of my most favorite was Sweetheart Cake – literal translation of Lou Pho Piang from Cantonese dialect. 

Sweetheart Cake in Medan

This is a big round Chinese pastry with winter melon, almond paste, sesame, five spice powder (Chinese spice blend of fennel seed, star anise, licorice root and cloves) and pork lard. The pastry skin is flaky and thin – literally melts in your mouth. 

There are many version of legend how this pastry has such an adorable name. Each one involves how a wife sacrificed her own freedom for the husband / family. Just how a good Chinese wife should be – selfless and put others before herself. 

These days, this sweet pastry is used as part of traditional wedding snack party favors for family and friends. In Medan there are less than a handful of shops who still sell these – they are not that popular anymore. In Hongkong and China, these are everyday snacks. 

I still enjoy them tremendously.

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18 Responses to “Chinese Sweetheart Cake”

  1. 1

    pablopabla — November 18, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

    Lou Pho Piang – I thought that is more Cantonese than Hokkien. In Hokkien, I would think a literal translation would be Lau Bo Pniah. :D They are still available here in Malaysia :D

    pablopabla’s last blog post..Soft Pork Cubes with Soy Sauce and Potatoes

  2. 2

    lk — November 18, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

    This pastry is my childhood favourite! I also luv those Loh Bo Phiah (????sold in Hong Kong – best of all! Yummy! ;)

    lk’s last blog post..Beetroot soup

  3. 3

    Jun — November 18, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

    Yes you are right … I made changes accordingly. I think I have been speaking too much Hokkien lately. :D

    Yeah I think the ones in Medan are definitely not as good as the ones in HK.

  4. 4

    doggybloggy — November 18, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

    these look tasty – I will look for them in the market…

    doggybloggy’s last blog post..say what?

  5. 5

    Jesse — November 18, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

    Oh my lord, my mom absolutely LOVES these. My dad just loves buying them and going, “Lao po bing for my lao po… hehehe” while I roll my eyes and make retching noises. Thanks for bringing back such great memories… =D

  6. 6

    mycookinghut — November 18, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

    I have not tried this before but heard a lot by watching the TVB movies *LOL*

    mycookinghut’s last blog post..Apple Streusel Muffins

  7. 7

    ramya — November 18, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

    Just amazing to read your post… I will keep visiting your blog…

    ramya’s last blog post..Butternut Squash soup with Green Chutney

  8. 8

    Alice — November 19, 2008 @ 2:57 am

    Lou Pho Piang… what a awesome traditional biscuits. We loved it.

    Alice’s last blog post..Simply Pizza

  9. 9

    Marc @ NoRecipes — November 19, 2008 @ 4:34 am

    Wow those do look good! I’m totally curious to try one now though. I’ve never had winter melon in anything but soup.

    Marc @ NoRecipes’s last blog post..Garlic chive shrimp fried rice with garlic chips

  10. 10

    noobcook — November 19, 2008 @ 8:49 am

    excellent photography! I always buy Lou Pho Piang as gifts for friends & family when I go HK, but I never buy any for myself… coz I dun have a sweet tooth, hehe

    noobcook’s last blog post..Foil-Wrapped Ginseng Chicken

  11. 11

    kang — November 19, 2008 @ 8:56 am

    I love Lou Pho Piang, been a while since I last had some – but you just reminded me to run out and get some :)

    Great pictures btw and great on you for going thesis :D

    kang’s last blog post..Food bloggers do you want to increase your technorati backlinks?

  12. 12

    Jun — November 19, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

    It is very special.

    Your parents must be a pretty great couple!

    Seriously? I think you are going to love it.

    Thanks for dropping by

    My favorote as well

    It’s quite strange, winter melon wrapped in flaky pastry crust. But somehow … it works.

    It was just something simple. Felt like taking photos, and there they were – sitting on the pantry. I think they are not sweet enough … I got extremely sweet tooth!

    I think it’s the best WordPress theme ever! Best $$$ I ever spent on blogsphere. It is so idiot-proof, eventhough I am too chicken to mess with the custom css. LOL
    You did such great customization on your site

  13. 13

    Gertrude — November 19, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

    We called this Wife Biscuits (if you translate it directly) but I think Sweetheart Cake sounds better :) I will bring lots of these each time I go back home.

    Gertrude’s last blog post..Pecan Tarts

  14. 14

    shavedicesundays — November 19, 2008 @ 8:42 pm

    Gorgeous photos! Never had this but your photo makes me want some.

    shavedicesundays’s last blog post..Bamboo Shoots with Ground Pork the Japanese Way

  15. 15

    elin — November 20, 2008 @ 4:22 am

    This is indeed nice to snack on. I would like to try making it juz for the fun of it….one day soon :)

    elin’s last blog post..Apple Crisps

  16. 16

    Peppercorn Press — November 20, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing this lovely pastry and legend. We adopted our daughter from China 2 years ago and have been trying to incorporate the Chinese culture into our lives. This sweetheart cake would be fun to share with our daughter, who happens to be Cantonese. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Peppercorn Press’s last blog post..Cheese Makes a Comeback!

  17. 17

    johnny — December 29, 2008 @ 6:51 pm

    N0DfS3 Thanks for good post

  18. 18

    jelly — March 4, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

    this lo pho pheng not just look very in foto,,but it test perfect,i dont agree if hong kong lo pho peng is better then this 1 in medan,this one is not too sweet,the pastry just perfect,cannot test the flour,cos i like to eat the one like this,in medan,,i try many kind from every where,:))))) if any body in here already eat this one:))) trust me,,,no body can forget,,is that right:)))thats why i want this recepe,,pls,,any body who hv this recepe just the one from medan,,thanks,,

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