Abacus beads, better known as 算盘子 (Suan Pan Zi) is a traditional Hakka dish. It is usually served during the new year. But I had it just recently . Every Chinese New Year this dish is bound to be served. When I was very young, my grandma used to tell me to eat this as much as I can. Reason? So I can excel in maths. Haha... Logically she said it to encourage me to eat more (*guilty* I can eat the whole bowl of it.. not that small rice bowl k?) Heck, it's my favourite dish and only ONCE a year I get to eat this at an old family friend's place. That suan pan zi made by this grand-aunt "suan pan zi" is the best ever to me. Till now, I still don't know her real name. Been calling her "suan pan zi popo" all these years!This time, it's no longer once a year thingy. My mum made this dish and I would say she did pretty well. You go mum!! XD
Raw suan pan zi
Oh ya, forgot to mention. These abacus beads is traditionally made with yam and tapioca flour. The dough is then shaped to resemble the abacus beads. They are then fried with tungku (Chinese mushroom), minced pork, chinese parsley, dried shrimps, garlic and spring onions in light soy sauce, salt and pepper. This dish is usally eaten with chilli sauce. The beads are chewy and overall this dish is extremely savoury.
If I'm not mistaken, suan pan zi can be found mostly at Malacca and Singapore. Argh... I've even made myself hungry!