Credits: The Straits Times
Old Seng Choong offers traditional treats to celebrate every joyous occasion from Chinese New Year, Customised Celebrations such as babies’ full month parties, and milestone 80th to Mooncake Festival. I have the chance to conduct a quick phone interview with Chef Daniel Tay. Lets check out the conversation:
Share with us the history of Seng Choong Confectionery and its glorious days.
Credits: The Straits Times
My dad was nobody when he entered this business. When he opened this Seng Choong Bakery, everybody told him that he is going to fail. This was because there were so many big brands around the area that time. He started from scratch and managed to capture most of the market after doing for awhile. By then, majority of the bakeries during that time closed down and that left the 2 brands namely Seng Choong and Tip Top. Yes, Seng Choong was selling curry puffs, buns, cake bread and more.
Given your past experiences, do you have anything that you will want to share with the younger generation who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs in bakery?
There are a lot of people doing very well, opening stores, bakeries and more. Most based on French style…German and others. But many of them including myself have forgotten our very own roots. We forget the true essence of the Singapore history. We need to embrace that the young have that culture in place and not putting it away and always going into European style.
Now that we know our history, we must be able to take that and grow it and not just be aware of it. We can talk about our old generations or fathers used to do. That is the most important part to me. What I can share is that we should know our roots first then know other people’s and we do an exchange. I strongly encourage our young generation to go into this direction.
What are your favourite traditional pastries or goodies?
My favourite is the pineapple tarts. It must not be too sweet. I can eat a lot of them but right now I am on diet so I have to control.. Haha. In fact, all the goodies which I made are what I like to eat. If I don’t eat them I don’t sell, that is my philosophy.
What is your way of enjoying traditional Nian Gao (年高, Year Cake)? The standard pan fried, fried with egg batter or any combination? Is there any special style of preparation to share with us?
Last time I follow the traditional way to pan fried the “Nian Gao”. Now I steam it and coated with steam coconut.
I created a way to make it as a French toast “Nian Gao”. That is what I mean by learning the trendy stuff and twist it with our traditional food.
Nian gao is not what we frequently consume. This is only part of the Nian Gao tradition. The sweet and brown types are usually the Teochew and Hokkien style. There are other types of unsweeten Nian Gao as well. The Korean ones will be known as the rice cakes while most of the Nian Gao originates from China.
Long time ago, people will harvest their produce (glutinous rice) then they will process and preserve it for winter time. They will eat it during Chinese New Year which is the Spring Festival (春节).
Nian Gao Recipe
French Toast with Nian Gao (Makes 12)
Credits: The 3 ways of enjoying ‘Nian Gao’ has been featured way earlier. For 2 other recipes visit: GOAWAY.SG
250g nian gao, cut into 4mm-thick slices
Butter, for frying
1 loaf of sliced white bread
- Whisk together eggs, milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
- Sandwich each piece of nian gao between 2 slices of bread.
- Trim away all the edges of the bread and cut each sandwich into half.
- Melt some butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Brush the surfaces of each sandwich with egg mixture and pan-fry on each side for about 3min until golden-brown.
- Sprinkle some icing sugar over the French toast sandwiches before serving.
What are your thoughts on preserving traditions? How can we and how do we move forward to preserve them for future generations to come?
Everybody should be talking and share about our traditions.
Will you be introducing any new dishes / menu after Chinese New Year?
Yes we will be doing some other products especially those that were made by my father during those days such as the apple pie and rum cakes which I mentioned in the The Straits Times.
<<<For other other CNY gourmet recipes click HERE>>>
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Old Seng Choong
171 Kampong Ampat, KA Foodlink
#05-04, Singapore 368330
Tel: 6287 0709