June 27, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – A Cantonese cake shop located in the Unesco World Heritage Site here has certainly come a long way – even surviving World War II and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Located in Cintra Street, the cake shop is one of the oldest traditional Chinese bakeries in Penang with a proud history going back to the early 1900s.
The Ng Kee cake shop is also probably one of the last few biscuit shops in Penang that still offer handmade mooncakes.
Owner Loh Mun Loong, 56, said his grandfather started the business sometime in 1900.
“We have survived WWII and also the Covid-19 pandemic. Although I’m not sure whether our shop was closed or not during the war, we voluntarily stopped our business for three months during the pandemic as a precaution even though the food industry was allowed to continue.
“Our signature pastries are coconut tarts, kaya puffs, and pepper biscuits.
“Over the years, we have diversified our offerings to include mooncakes and wedding biscuits, which are still produced in the traditional manner,” he said.
As the fourth-generation custodians of the business, two of Mun Loong’s daughters, Joyee Loh, 27, and Esther Loh, 25, have embraced the responsibility of keeping alive the legacy of one of Penang’s oldest Chinese bakeries.
Inspired by their father and grandfather’s struggles and passion, they recognised the importance of passing down this traditional business to future generations.
“While our reputation precedes us in this trade, we face stiff competition from other producers,” said Esther.
“To stay ahead, we are actively working on enhancing customer relations and developing innovative marketing strategies and packaging for our products.
“Our customers, most of whom are loyal locals, expect us to maintain both the quality and affordability of our products.
“They want us to continue running the business, recognising that these inherited skills and the products themselves are a result of a lifetime of experience,” she added.