Cake maker out to keep dough culture alive

The second-generation owner of a traditional Teochew pastry shop, Mr Lawrence Lim, 43, remembers running around the shop his father founded in 1964.

Now, he runs the shop in Sembawang with his mother, Madam Ang Sew Gek, 68. The shop, Gin Thye Cake Maker, which sells traditional baked goods, is one of only a handful that still exist.

His customers are typically couples who have to give sweetmeats to their elders as part of wedding tradition. In a traditional Teochew wedding, for instance, the bride is required to present wu se tang - a set of confections such as bean-paste pastry and sticky candy - to her grandmother.

While customers now do not order 80 boxes like they used to in the past, they still want 10 to 20 boxes, Mr Lim said. He said the customer base has grown, with the decrease in the number of such shops.

Mr Lim said he is glad the National Heritage Board will document foods like his that are part of Singapore's heritage. "Youngsters nowadays think there is no culture, but there is," he said.

Mr Lim runs Gin Thye Cake Maker, a traditional Chinese pastries shop in Sembawang Road, with his mother. The shop,
which sells baked goods, is one of only a handful that still exist. PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Even so, he is planning to revamp his shop to make it more modern. He now also offers less traditional goods like durian mochi.

He hopes that his son, who is about two years old, will take over the business eventually.

Jalelah Abu Baker

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Cake maker out to keep dough culture alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe