It’s the shape that first catches the eye. At Tong Heng Confectionary in Singapore’s Chinatown, egg tarts come in a unique diamond shape form. They’re the prettiest egg tarts you’ll see in town, but they’re also well-loved across generations for more than their novelty factor.
Through meeting Fang Cai Hua, we begin to get a sense of why these egg tarts, and to a larger aspect, Tong Heng Confectionary have made an everlasting impression on the public.
Cai Hua, more commonly addressed as Da Jie (meaning ‘Big Sister’ in Mandarin), has been running the business since 1988. It has survived food trends and held the attention of often fickle foodies by a combination of hard work, passion and unexpectedly, that little extra ingredient of joie de vivre.
“I believe if one is happy making pastries, then the person selling them will be happy, and the person eating will also feel happy.”
And Da Jie and her crew are the cheeriest bunch.
Biting into a Tong Heng pastry, you’ll taste good quality ingredients, a requirement for most food businesses in this day and age. But it’s the undefinable joy and endearing heartiness that you’ll savour long after. Here’s a business that feels like family, that runs equally on passion for the product, the public and each other.
It’s soul food for the stomach, and the heart. And that’s why we keep coming back for more.
This short film was commissioned by Kreta Ayer – Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee, in Celebrations of SG50 and paying tribute to Singapore’s Pioneer Generation for their contributions in nation building.