He Ji Bao Dian

Special thanks to He Ji Bao Dian for extending this food review invitation.

Well-hidden within residential houses of Paya Terubong is He Ji Bao Dian (合记包点), a manufacturer of Fuzhou (福州) style baozi (包子). This family-owned bakery has been operating here for over 20 years, and has since been supplying baozi to restaurants, hawker centers and events.
Some of the baozi at He Ji Bao Dian are traditional ones like Big Bao (大包), Barbecued Meat Bao (叉烧包), Coconut Paste Bao (咖椰包) and Bean Paste Bao (豆沙包).

As the younger generation has been more involved in the business, several types of less orthodox baozi like Cheese Bao (芝士包), Fuzhou Red Yeast Wine Bao (福州红糟包) and Pumpkin Bao (金瓜包, RM1.30) are also available. Despite their colorful appearance, He Ji Bao Dian uses natural food coloring only.
For Penangites who have visited any hawkers center before (this means virtually everyone in the state unless there are still cave-dwelling populations), the Barbecued Meat Bao (叉烧包, RM1.50) should not sound alien at all. Within the soft flour dough are savory slices of roasted pork in sweet-savory gravy.
Next up is Pumpkin Bao (金瓜包, RM1.30), which is filled with sweet coconut paste. Pumpkin is used to provide color and slight sweetness to the yellowish dough.
Alternatively, the pumpkin-flavored dough can be enjoyed in the form of mantou - Pumpkin Mantou (金瓜馒头, RM1.20). Mantou is made by rolling a sheet of dough in spiral manner. Unlike baozi, no filling is used for mantou.
Cheese Bao (芝士包, RM2.50) is stuffed with minced pork and molten cheese. This treat is most enjoyable when the filling is still piping hot from the steamer oven.
The Charcoal Black Sesame Bao (竹炭黑芝麻包, RM1.30) is filled with delectable black sesame paste. A small amount of charcoal powder is used to imbue grayish color to the dough.
Meanwhile for the Matcha, Salted Egg & Lotus Paste Bao (小抹茶咸蛋莲蓉包, RM1.00), green tea powder is used to lightly flavor the dough. Inside the baozi is a nice mixture of lotus paste and salted egg. The aroma and taste of the filling is very similar to a mooncake's.
The next baozi is Fuzhou Red Yeast Wine Bao (福州红糟包, RM2.00), which I think is one of the most novel ones. The reddish hue comes from red yeast wine (红糟), which is essentially leftover sediment after filtering red wine. Due to its unique taste, red yeast wine is often used in Fuzhou cuisine for various dishes such as meats, fish, rice and noodles. As for the filling of this baozi, barbecued pork is used.
Last but not least is a seasonal specialty, Durian Brown Sugar Mantou (榴莲黑糖馒头, RM1.20). Durian paste and brown sugar are infused into the dough to present an enjoyable treat. The taste of durian is mild, so this baozi serves more as a between-meals morsel rather than a heavyweight snack.
He Ji Bao Dian provides free delivery throughout Penang Island. Minimum order required for delivery depends on proximity from the bakery.
- RM20.00 for Air Itam
- RM30.00 for Green Lane and Jelutong
- RM40.00 for George Town
- RM60.00 for the rest of Penang Island
Alternatively, He Ji Bao Dian accepts walk-in customers too. To maintain freshness and prevent spoilage, the choices of baozi may be limited from day to day. It is advisable to visit around 2:30pm because this is when a fresh batch of baozi comes out of the oven. Baozi is best eaten while hot.

Name: He Ji Bao Dian (合记包点)
Address: 1038-O, Lorong Rambai, 11060 Air Itam, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 016-472-4469
Business hours: 2:30pm-6:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/HeJiBaoDian
Coordinates: 5.37766 N, 100.27543 E
Directions: Driving southbound from Air Itam towards Relau, after the Chinese cemetery on the right, look out for Sin Lam Fatt on the right. Approximately 200 meters later, turn left to Jalan Rambai and take the next right turn to Lorong Rambai. He Ji Bao Dian is located around the next left curve.

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