AMID the hustle and bustle of Malacca’s famous Jonker Street, tantalising smells are coming from the Mei Zhong Yuen Confectionery where fresh batches of mooncakes and other pastries are being made.
It is yet another regular day for the owner, Low Kim Piow, 44, who has been manning the shop since inheriting the business from his parents 30 years ago.
Like most businesses, Low started small, operating from rented shops all over Malacca, then expanding to his very own shop lot on Jonker Street.
He learnt the art of pastry-making when he was in Taiwan and is no stranger to the baking field. His family is also involved in the making of the company’s baked goods.
Some days, upon walking into the shop, customers are greeted by the heart-warming sight of Low’s eight-year-old son packing biscuits, while his wife ensures that the freshly-baked pastries are properly displayed.
With the mooncake festival on the horizon, throngs of customers have been flocking to Mei Zhong Yuen Confectionary these days. Their mooncakes are high in demand and are not only enjoyed by the Chinese community but also that of other races.
The confectionery bakes a range of mooncakes with traditional flavours such as red bean and lotus paste.
“I’ve stayed true to my forefathers’ mooncake recipe. I’m not too keen on modifying the recipes because the classic flavours are more favoured by my customers. Also, new flavours are merely seasonal and the novelty of it dies out eventually.”
Customers can choose from an assortment of delectable pastries from the shop. Among Low’s specialities is the lotus biscuit, which is also one of the confectionery’s best sellers.
Low said, “Our lotus biscuits are special because the ingredients are natural and we don’t preservatives. This means that the biscuits have a short shelf life (so they must be eaten fresh). I’ve had many tourists visit the shop and buying the biscuits. Some even pre-book them!”
It isn’t all hard work for Low at the confectionary, because he does his job purely out of passion. “I’m always happy when customers call me back to praise my products. Once, a tourist from Brunei rang me up and came all the way from Brunei just to collect the pastries! Little things like that make me feel really glad,” shared Low.
However, he does admit that the business is failing to attract today’s youngsters.
With most youth now preferring fast food, delicacies like the mooncake and lotus biscuits are slowly taking a backseat.
Many find maintaining businesses that sell traditional products hold an unpromising future.
But here is Low, unfazed by the challenges that the 21st century present and believing in his products and the age-old charm they possess.