Monday, September 24, 2007

The Early Bakeries of Sibu

If I am not mistaken the first baker of Sibu was Tiong Huo Hin and his first outlet was some where in Central Road in the early fifties. How he became a baker perhaps only his descendents would know.

But in my memory he and his bakery would have a special place.

Almost all coffee shops in Sibu would serve Roti Kahwin with kopi-o. Bread from Tiong Huo Hin Bakery was special, especially the one called Tyre Bread. This bread was baked in a round tin, and there would be indentations which helped housewives or the coffee shop owners slice the bread evenly.

I liked the ends because they were buttered and greasy. So my mother would always let me have those two slices. I could eat them without the jam or kaya.

My father was very frugal and he would always buy two loaves of bread in the evenings at the special discounted price. Mr. Tiong and my father were first cousins so being family, they were great with each other. Sometimes, Mr. Tiong would give one extra loaf to my father. I never realised at that time that a day old bread is best for sandwich making. How did my father know about that? I would never be able to find out. But we always got our bread in the evenings and we would have our sandwiches and toasted bread for breakfast the next day.

My father would have two slices of toasts every day with a very large cup of black coffee.

He would make the coffee early in the morning and he would bring up a cup of coffee to my mum. It was not breakfast in bed, the American style. But from a Chinese man, it was near enough.

I would always remember how he would wake her up in the early morning with,
"Chuo, here's your coffee..." When he passed away so suddenly and so young, I missed hearing him say that for a long long time.

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