Story of A 50 Years Old Kaya Puff LegacyJuly 4, 2011 | 10,061 views
Trays of freshly baked, flaky golden brown puffs filled with delightful ‘kaya’ (sweet coconut jam) from Sin Eng Heong on Clare Street (Jalan Mustapha al-Bakri) in Ipoh.
In a matter of days, Sin Eng Heong would be celebrating its 50 years in business. Yup, you’re not dreaming. It’s not 5, 10, 15 or 30 years anniversary. Half a century on, and the brand’s stronger than ever.
Not only that, they’re even expanding to the adjacent shoplot. If you’ve been there before, joining the snaking queue come weekends/public holidays (sometimes only to be turned away regrettably because the not-so-selfless one in front of you bought the last 50 pieces!), and survived to tell the tale, then you would have borne witness to their unparalleled popularity.
Modern technology? What technology?
Read on for more revealing shots of the stripped-down-to-its-finest-core manner of manufacturing/baking, and a revelation of this Ipoh’s legacy in the making.
Maybe he’s been there, done that. And timely to pass the torch to the next generation, and succumb to the temptation of commercialization and modern gadgets. But no. Hell no.
Mr Ng is the brain and the brawn behind Sin Eng Heong. For close to 60 years, he has been in the baking business; churning out traditional biscuits; especially his signature kaya puffs. He started in Pasir Pinji (I hope I am getting this right), and established the brand for the remaining years, before moving to this current premise about a decade ago.
Made from scratch; the creamy ‘kaya’ that made his puffs so famous all over Ipoh, and subsequently the kaya puff fever extended well over the Perak border.
Had you not known them in person, or witnessed how the production line at Sin Eng Heong really is, then you might just be one of those who have fumed, breathed fire and cursed under your breath for having you wait in the stuffy environment, bracing the tedious wait, the high chance of rejection had you been a walk-in customer on a busy weekend, or even the fact that you’d prefer your kaya puffs to be of uniformed shapes and aesthetically-pleasant.
Every single piece of puff is made by hand. The dough kneaded and stretched on the wooden board, the oval-shaped pastry being the only molded design, and even the gentle presses on the edges to seal the rich coconut jam in were of uneven shapes and sizes; variations exist in correlation to different fingers being used and across different workers.
Haphazardly crafted, yet a marvel in its essence. When you know that the end result’s gonna be good, do you care how they looked like?
There are about 12-13 types of biscuits/puffs being sold at Sin Eng Heong. And no, they do not have a designated menu or even a price list. But people just know what they want from this landmark in the heart of Ipoh city.
Most notably; the Kaya puffs, the ‘Siu Par Wong’ (pandan/screwpine leaves flavoured lotus paste with salted egg yolk biscuits), the ‘Ham Dan Sou’ (lotus paste with salted egg yolk), ‘Ham Kok’ (savoury meat floss puffs that was featured on this blog before), ‘Heong Peng’ (read this post for a better idea on what these are) and various others.
Baked until a golden brown; for 20 minutes in the electrical oven. The crisp, flaky pastry crumbles when bitten, and stays as such for days after purchased. The secret behind this? The addition of lard oil to the dough.
On a good day, he bakes about 3000-4000 pieces of kaya puffs. And let’s put it this way. He only hires 3 staff in the ‘manufacturing facility‘. Aside from that? Himself, his wife and another helper will assist in rolling the dough for the other biscuits in the small section separating the retail portion of the shop, and the kitchen. As from what you saw in the second picture in this post.
Not an unusual scene; already a well-controlled crowd compared to some days when the rowdy and ruthless ones got all pushy and throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. People, you can always call and make reservation in advance.
10 pieces to a box, or 5 pieces in the smaller plastic container. At RM0.80 each; the kaya puff from Sin Eng Heong is still my personal favourite. Some have complained about them being too sweet, some prefer the puffs to be harder with a crunchy pastry, but once again … taste is subjective. If you love flaky kaya puff filled with a rich, creamy and fragrant ‘kaya’, then you can’t go wrong here.
Colourful varieties of smaller biscuits; filled with lotus paste/red bean. They also make ‘Lou Por Peng’ or wife biscuits (literal translation) and ‘Gar Lui Peng’ (dowry biscuits?!)
Behind every successful man is a very supportive wife. And Mrs Ng has never been more loyal and supportive. For decades now.
Passion is the Word – An affable man with no air surrounding him, Mr Ng put on his best shirt for this shot, although he was wrist-deep in dough and rushing for the next batch release of piping hot biscuits.
And more space for the maddening crowd in the near future, Sin Eng Heong will be expanding their business to the adjacent premise. So you don’t have to line up until the sidewalk for your biscuits.
July 10th 2011 is the day when Sin Eng Heong will celebrate its 50 years anniversary. And what better way to signify this momentous occasion than by expansion of business? Taking up the lot next to the current premise, there can only be brighter days ahead.
Not to mention higher chances of the delectable kaya puffs charming their ways into the hearts of foodies from all over the country … and possibly across the continents?
KEDAI BISKUT SIN ENG HEONG
No. 64, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri (Jalan Clare)
30300 Ipoh, Perak.
Telephone : 05- 2439659, or 012-4534596 (Elaine).
Opens daily from 9am – 8pm. Sundays : 9am – 6pm.
Google Map to Sin Eng Heong
GPS Coordinates : 4.594916,101.084855
Near to the police station (Pekan Baru) in town. Same road as the old Foh San and Kamdar.
*Read the previous posts for more information : Ipoh Famous Kaya Puff @ Sin Eng Heong, Meat Floss Puff @ Sin Eng Heong