Eng Bee Tin is one of the most recognizable and widely available local brands for beloved Chinese treats like tikoy, with 20 branches across Luzon. With our deep cultural ties with China, the sweet treat has made its way into our own local culture, likely spawning the popularity of the aforementioned chain. And there is no greater time to swing by your nearest Eng Bee Tin for a taste of the straightforward tikoy than this weekend for Chinese New Year.
Tikoy is typically glutinous rice, sugar, water and oil, and we normally see it formed round and flat like a giant coin (though it has been known to come in special shapes such as a goldfish). Cut it thick for a chewy bite, or slice it thin for something crispy, coat it in egg, and fry it up for your deliciously uncomplicated.
We visited Eng Bee Tin to get our tikoy fix and ended up grabbing 5 different flavors that we couldn’t help toss into our grocery bag.
Your quintessential tikoy, this is the most popularly eaten and gifted flavor. With a hint of vanilla (and sure enough, the ingredients call for some extract) and a white sugar base, the white tikoy’s flavor is clean, a perfect dessert for the conservative eaters and supertasters out there.
The slightly less popular yet still classic flavor, brown tikoy uses brown sugar as a base, whose caramel flavor is strong enough that the tikoy does not need any extract added to it. We found it much for pleasant to eat, with an unpretentious flavor that takes you back to being a child and sneaking a spoonful of brown sugar straight to your mouth.
Now this is what we’re talking about. In our opinion, the muscovado flavor is just the type of tikoy that tickles our tastebuds. But keep in mind that we are all just tourists and not connoisseurs of tikoy, growing up in typically Filipino households. With more character, sweetness, and wholeness in the flavor, muscovado was our easy favorite.
RED BEAN TIKOY
We were enamored by its octagonal box, which stood out against the dozens of flavors that Eng Bee Tin offered. Sadly, it did not live up to its pretty packaging—and maybe righteously so because that’s just what we get for judging a tikoy by its cover. The red bean was but a thin layer that settled at the bottom. The taste was subtler than we would like, leaving us still craving for the flavor after every bite. Which has us suspecting that the trick is to simply eat more.
SWEET CORN TIKOY
The flavor of the year, this special edition sweet corn tikoy will have limited availability in celebration of the year of the rooster. A fact that is only to its advantage. The sweet corn tikoy indeed had some kernels that added a welcome crunch and natural sweet juices. The glutinous rice part of the tikoy was injected with a distinct artificial flavoring that filled the nostrils from the inside.