Grandpa, I Found It! Traditional Hainan Bread @ Ban Guan Foong Bakery, Pasir Pinji, IpohNovember 19, 2012 | 12,030 views
I bet that my late grandpa whom had gone to heaven 20 years ago would be damn proud of his grandson with this story published.
Not an arduous task, or unimaginable feat if you think about it. But it took me a good many years (many many decades … ) to be able to finally appreciate the worth of a good loaf of Hainanese bread.
Yes, let me share with you this half-a-century’s old bakery in Pasir Pinji, Ipoh on this beautiful Monday evening.
You see, back when we were small kids in the 80’s, there was never any commercialized, sliced bread brands around town. Heck, even Gardenia’s came to the scene in the 90’s. But feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
Occasionally, you would hear the heart-warming tinkles of a ‘ting ting’ man (if you are oblivious to his presence or what-the-heck was that …. go ask your parents, please) crossing the streets outside of your home; carting in his bike more than just breads, chocolates and snacks.
He brought cheers and happiness to the kids in the neighbourhood.
And in his most cheery demeanour and downright humble self (back in those simpler days, who wasn’t a jolly good fellow?), he would spread the cheer around by offering selection of snacks, toys and breads to tempt the kids. Or the kid still living in the teenager’s body.
The adults wouldn’t feel left out in the mix though. The brown loaves of Hainan bread arranged nicely within the glass windows would be ideal breakfast of choice for the entire family; complemented perfectly by a slab of butter and a tub of ‘kaya’ (coconut egg jam).
Pillowy soft; an ideal characteristic of a good loaf of Hainan bread is the ability to be squeezed to a very dense pulp then dipped into your cup of hot Milo or coffee. Yet, not losing any of the marvelous airy texture. And you don’t cut off the crusts since the browned skin possesses that significant smoky/burnt flavour from the roasting process.
I received this query from several readers before;
“Where can I find traditional Hainan breads in Ipoh?”
To which I had no idea. I expected the older bakeries to still stock up on the esteemed classic, yet a quick check around a few revealed otherwise.
Then thankfully, Ban Guan Foong came into the picture.
For more than 50 years now, the Goh family have been laboriously yet passionately churning out hundreds of Hainanese loaves per day. Back then, they used to produce more; selling them to coffee shops and wholesalers around town. But times have slowed down considerably, whereby they only produce up to about 100 loaves per day, coupled with few hundreds of their equally popular coconut and kaya buns.
They still supply to a few coffee shops in Ipoh, yet marginally scaled down. Maybe it’s the competition. Or maybe it’s the lack of awareness that no bread can even come close to matching a good loaf of Hainanese bread.
For RM1.40 (about USD0.50) a loaf, you get about 9 slices of an inch-thick white bread. The coconut buns go for RM0.60/USD0.20 each, and filled to the brim with sweetened dessicated coconut. And they make their fillings from scratch, in case you’re hesitating.
A full review on sliced white bread would be deemed a little redundant. Even exaggerated. But a bread maker operating from an old wooden house in Pasir Pinji of Ipoh; with more than half a century’s worth of legacy to share?
Definitely worth the limelight.
You probably won’t give this place much thought; easily zooming by the street looking for grubs instead of walking in for a whiff of freshly-baked breads and buns. The exterior facade tells a story of many humble beginnings. With nary a flashy/modern gadget in sight or even a signboard, they are a happy bunch; contented with the sheer satisfaction of loyal customers and some random walk-ins.
And very camera-friendly too. That’s a plus. Mr Goh shared stories about the bakery and how they were even featured on Axian’s show on AEC. I felt blessed to be able to finally proclaim Ban Guan Foong as one of Ipoh’s very best (or the only one?) traditional bakers in town.
BAN GUAN FOONG BAKERY
50, Jalan Sultan,
31550 Pasir Pinji, Ipoh, Perak.
Tel No : +605-3213 891
Opens from 7.30pm onwards (Mon – Fri)
Opens from 4.00pm onwards (Sun)
Closed on Saturdays.
GPS Coordinates : 4.575997,101.085976
*Next to DAP Office in Pasir Pinji, Ipoh. Coming from Jalan Bunga Raya, you take the first LEFT turn before Klinik Kesihatan Pasir Pinji and the Chinese temple. You will reach Jalan Sultan. You will see the DAP Office to your LEFT soon after. Ban Guan Foong is next to the DAP office.