While eating at Smith Street Food Centre one weekend, we chanced upon a large pile of of Twistie-like crackers which pique our curiosity. After taking a closer look, we realised it is actually a traditional Chinese snack in the making.
Known as “sha qi ma” in mandarin, this sweet snack is made by combining strips of crispy wheat crackers and binding them together with sticky sweet maltose syrup. The mix is then placed into a large sheet tin and compressed and moulded into a rectangular block. The ‘cake’ is then cut it into the desired size.
A good sha qi ma like the one from Pan Ji ($4.50 for the small block) has a nice caramalised texture while still remaining crispy to the bite. Unlike the mass produced ones from the supermarket, Pan Ji’s pastry is handmade by an elderly couple. It wins thumbs down with its mild, toasty egg flavour and is not overly sweet. Our only complaint is that the pastry tends to be slightly greasy.
We did not manage to find out how the snack got its name, which is roughly translated as “horse riding”. If you know the answer, share it with us below.
Pan Ji Cooked Food
#02-78 Chinatown Complex Market
Blk 335 Smith Street