Taoke (Business)

Polland Hopia: Balancing Tradition and Innovation Through Unique Hopia Flavors

Whether you’re a local or you’re fond of going on food trips around Binondo, you’ve probably developed a love for hopia, and there’s no better way to satisfy your cravings than with the salty and sweet varieties of hopia from Polland.

Polland is known as one of the staple hopia places in Manila, and CHiNOYTV’s Valerie Tan spoke with second generation owner, Joseph Tin, to learn more about Polland’s unique and innovative origin story.

According to Joseph, it was his mother’s idea to open her own hopia shop in the 1960s. It was initially called Po Hieng Tsai / Polland Tsai, named after his mother, who was called So Po. Joseph’s father helped out by financing the store, and since he was an artist, he also designed the boxes that the hopia was packed in. That was how the iconic red hopia box became part of Polland’s brand.

Go So Po and her husband, Tin Hai Siu

They initially started with two flavors: mongo and pork, which caters to those with a sweet tooth or those who prefer a savory treat. But while flavors continue to evolve and can be replicated, what sets Polland apart from the rest is its crispy and flaky crust. It isn’t too sweet, which makes it a healthier option and also highlights the flavors of the filling.

Joseph has been involved in the hopia-making process since he was in high school. Like many Chinoys, he also spent his summer break helping out with their family business, but instead of the typical ko tiam, he was actually part of the hopia assembly line.

Joseph Tin, second generation owner of Polland

But of course, with the increasing demands and emerging trends, Polland had to innovate to keep up with the changing times. Joseph’s son Jeff shared how his father had to design machines that could automate the production process while maintaining the handmade feel of the hopia. He also spoke about the new flavors they conceptualized to appeal to the younger generation, such as pork floss, custard, and chocolate fudge, with the latter even going viral on social media.

Joseph’s other son Lance also shared another achievement for Polland, since they managed to figure out how to extend the shelf life of their hopia from the traditional 7 days to 1 month without using artificial preservatives. This allowed them to ship their hopia products across the Philippines and even to other countries.

Valerie Tan with Joseph Tin and his sons, Jeff and Lance

Despite the changes though, Joseph stresses the importance of maintaining Polland’s identity by finding a balance between tradition and innovation. Polland is a product of his mother, who valued quality and consistency, and this is something that Joseph passed down to his sons, and his sons will pass down to their children to continue Polland’s legacy for the future generations.

You may visit Polland Hopia’s main branch at 670 Mayon St. La Loma Quezon City, and other branches at Benavidez, Greenhills, Landmark Makati, Landmark Alabang, SM Pangpanga, and more.

Get an exclusive behind the scenes look at how Polland’s iconic hopias are made in the next episode of Chinese By Blood, Filipino by Heart, airing this Sunday, July 16, 2023.

Leave a Reply