Wife Biscuit, a love story

Posted on 24 Mar, 2012 | Eat Magazine
This ubiquitous looking biscuit you often bypass for that sugar-topped chocolate roll has quite a legend to its name. A tale of love. 
Labeled as wife biscuit, I asked myself if by some magic I eat some and find myself a wife to someone by morning the next day. Do I become I wife? Why the name? So I  trotted down to the nearest bakeshop in my Ang Mo Kio (Cheng San Market and Cooked Food Centre) neighborhood and asked the auntie if knows wife cakes are called such.
The round flaky skin made from pork lard with a chewy almond paste or sweet winter melon filling must have its origins somewhere. Auntie offers that it should have been called the granny biscuit as even toothless grandmothers can eat this pastry with is flaky skin – literally melting in your mouth. 
The wife biscuit is also known as sweetheart or wife cake. In Hong Kong you can buy this by asking for "lou po beng" or "lou pho piang" (either in Cantonese or Hokkien dialects).  Several bakeshops and biscuits after, I learned a common thread that runs through legends that about its origins.  There was once a wife who sacrificed her own freedom for her husband. The selfless Chinese wife had to toil making the biscuits to sell so that she can save up and buy here husband's freedom. 
But these days, this pastry is said to be used as part of traditional wedding snack party favors for family and friends. And in Singapore, you can easily grab one as an everyday snack. 
Now doesn't this make you ask what's the story with the husband cake?

  •  Swee Heng Bakeshop
     Bendermeer Market & Food Centre, #01 - 837
  • BC Bakery 
    Blk 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Market & Food Centre, #01-25        
  • Q Bread 
     709 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, #01-2591    
    166 Bukit Merah Central
wife biscuit with husband biscuit

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