April 19, 2009
CHEAP & GOOD
By Thng Lay Teen
If you like traditional Teochew, Cantonese and Hokkien confectionery, you will feel like a child in a big candy store when you step into Gin Thye Cake Maker at Sembawang Road.
That was how I felt one Saturday afternoon when I was at the bakery where time seemed to have stood still. The wooden shelves were groaning from the weight of freshly baked pastries coming out from behind the shop.
The salty tau sar piah (bean paste pastry, 60 cents) was good, with the thin pastry gently flaking off as I bit into its homemade mung bean filling with just the right balance of salty and sweet.
You can upsize to the da lao bing (above), a much bigger version of tau sar piah ($10). In between is a medium version ($2.50) which also comes with salty and sweet bean paste filling.
Owner Lawrence Lim says the da lao bing is also known as a 'son-in-law biscuit'. A Teochew bride's family would buy the biscuits for the groom's family, who would then present a box called wu se tang (five coloured candy, $18) to the bride's family.
I like the fragrant dou gong (10 pieces for $4), smashed peanuts cooked together with shallots, maltose and sugar. For something more chewy, try the dou run (10 pieces for $4), made by mixing ground peanuts with maltose and cooled sugar solution.
But the confectionery which has been around since 1964, when Mr Lim's late father, Mr Lim Bak Chai, started it, does not just have traditional cakes. It also churns out newfangled concoctions such as walnut piah ($1) with ground walnut filling and yam piah (80 cents) with its homemade paste.
The shop is doing so well that it has three outlets. The latest one is in Block 513 at Bishan Street 13 and it is planning to open more this year.
GIN THYE CAKE MAKER
423 Sembawang Road
Open: 8am to 8pm from Mondays to Saturdays, 8am to 2pm on Sundays and public holidays
Rating: *** 1/2