Sunday, February 20, 2011

#13 Kim Keat Road

Along this stretch of road in Kim Keat Lane, our group found out that there are 2 classic bakeries of the past which still exist and function today. They are the Sweetland Confectionary and Sing Hon Loong Bakery. These bakeries give us a very good idea of how bakeries in the past looked like and is definitely an eye-opener for young people like us.

Kim Keat Road?
Kim Keat Road is named after Chua Kim Keat, a Peranakan descent of the Straits Trading Company. He was the only son of Chua Kai Hoon. He came to Singapore in 1886 and started out working as a tin salesman in the trading company.

This road was named after him because in 1895, Chua Kim Keat built a country house off Balestier road and the site of this house is the current Kim Keat Road. He was famous for holding garden parties in his country house and was well-attended by both European and Chinese elites.

Chua Kim Keat passed away in 1907, at the age of 48.

Kim Keat Road v.s. Kim Keat Avenue

The Kim Keat Road that we visited often tend to be confused with Kim Keat Avenue which is located at Toa Payoh. It is not surprising that both places were given the same name because it used to be possible to walk from Balestier to Toa Payoh in the past when the expressways were still not built.

Sweetlands Confectionary (10/12 Kim Keat Lane)

Sweetland Confectionary has never deviated itself from the conventional methods that have been foregone by the bakery trade with the advent of technology. The aroma of toasted bread assails our olfactory senses just before we arrived at this traditional confectionery.

When we arrived at the bakery, the loaves of bread were laid out on shelves in the open. What greeted us was amiable service provided by the people in the shop. They took time to interact with us, and were very open with us taking photographs. They were instead, eager and excited that young generation like us are still interested to visit their shop. Perhaps, it was a way of them trying to preserve this traditional way of bread toasting. By having more young customer in their shop, this form of heritage and culture will not be lost.

We bought some of the bread to try, and to be honest, they were really nice.Sticking to the traditional way of making and toasting bread brings out the best taste and it was something we could never get from other shops these days anymore.

To have a better idea on their bread-making process, please view the video below :)

Sing Hon Loong Bakery, 4 Whampoa Drive
Located along the same lane is another traditional bakery. Sing Hon Loong Bakery functions similarly to Sweet Confectionary. It also uses the traditional way of making and toasting bread. However, there were more varieties of bread in this shop.

Other sights at Kim Keat
Besides the two bakeries which gave us insight to how traditional bakeries were like in the past, we also went on to explore other sights along Kim Keat Lane.

Contributed by Sebastian Thng

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