Words by Candy Tee
Founded from the pure love for baking, Keng Seng Confectionery started out in 1986 in the cosy Yishun neighbourhood with mainly traditional buns and cakes on their shelves. Founder Mr Liow Kian Huat dedicated his lifetime providing pastries of the highest quality and consistency, and as a result, Keng Seng Confectionery very soon became a familiar name known by generations within the Yishun community.
By 2001, Keng Seng Confectionery expanded to three outlets and their product range has since widened from traditional bread to birthday cakes, gourmet pastries, tarts, and even festive pastries like mooncakes.
It was in 2019 that Liow’s son, YiHong, took over the reins of maintaining the legacy when Liow unfortunately passed. YiHong recalls the memory of his childhood and how growing up in a baking household moulded his passion. “I grew up in the shophouse just above our first outlet at Block 292 since I was 7 years old. I still remember waking up to the smell of freshly baked breads and cakes early in the morning and I was always fascinated by it. So during the weekends, I would always sit in the bakery and watch my dad and the bakers at work while doing my homework. I would also ask questions incessantly while my dad was busy baking, to a point where he will chase me out sometimes. I was simply amazed by how simple ingredients like flour, water, salt etc. can be turned into something so delicate and delicious. As time went by, before I even knew it, I became a traditional baker myself! I baked my first traditional bread and mooncake at the age of 13 (of course with guidance from my dad and his team of bakers) and it was one of my greatest accomplishments.”
Only The Very Best
At Keng Seng Confectionery, YiHong and his staff strongly believe in quality over quantity. “My dad and I had the same agreement, we will never compromise on the ingredients that affect the quality of our products, to the extent that if we ran out of a particular ingredient on that day, we would rather not produce that product that day,” shared YiHong of their firm motto. It is also this motto that he gives credence to, for the success of Keng Seng over the last three decades in the industry.
Moving With The Times
While traditional buns and cakes have their niche share of demand, Liow and YiHong both know deep down all along, that traditional pastries alone are not enough to satisfy the ever-changing consumer tastebuds. Therefore, like how Liow signed up for baking courses in the Community Centres back then during his time to improve his skills, YiHong also stepped out of his traditional comfort zone to explore baking courses in the past few years, in hopes of bringing something different back to the bakery every time.
The success of their quest for constant innovation while keeping the tradition going, is affirmed when their best-sellers are items from both the traditional and the innovative product categories:
Traditional French Loaf (Asian-Style Baguettes)
The traditional French loaves may look like French baguettes, but they hold a slight difference: It is crispy on the outside and slightly softer on the inside to suit the Asian taste buds. One can enjoy the sweet fragrance by tasting it plain or simply spread butter on the softer inside. Singaporeans also have interesting local ways of eating it with curry, or dipping into milo or coffee.
Fusion Cranberry Artisan Bread
This newly-launched product in 2020 has already garnered fans snatching up the loaves on days that they are available. Due to the extensive requirement in time and effort to bake the Fusion Cranberry Artisan Bread, it is only available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with limited quantities. The recipe was created by YiHong, melding both local traditional baking with a pinch of European style.
The Road Onwards
“Over the years, what spurred me on is my great team of trusted bakers and staff. They are like a family to me. From baking, to packaging, to logistics and sales, without the hard work and effort of each and everyone, the road would have been tougher for me, that’s for sure,” revealed YiHong humbly. With the bakers and staff as the key resource to the confectionery, he has plans in the near future to refine the skills of his bakers and service staff through relevant Baker 4.0 courses, so as to constantly provide new products as well as maintain good service standards, to meet the undoubtedly rise in consumer’s dynamic expectations in the years to come.
Keng Seng Confectionery is located at 292 Yishun St 22, Singapore 760292. Tel: 6755 1269.