Old-world charm, closely guarded traditions and a generation with the heart and head have helped heritage food establishments in Singapore remain as crowd-pullers even after decades in the business.
Nestled along a row of colourful shophouses in Joo Chiat, Kim Choo Kueh Chang is best known for bak chang––traditional Peranakan (Straits-born people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage) rice dumpling with meat fillings.
“But we don’t just sell dumplings. We’re a cultural business that showcases Peranakan heritage,” says Edmond Wong, the 32-year-old grandson of founder Mdm Lee Kim Choo.
Indeed, besides the dumplings, locals also flock to Kim Choo Kueh Chang for its mouth-watering selection of Peranakan delights such as pineapple tarts, nine-layer kueh (bite-sized snacks or desserts) and melt-in-your-mouth fish otah (spicy fish paste).
The upper level of the shophouse––open to the public––is a treasure trove of Peranakan antiques and traditional costumes like the kebaya (a long-sleeved blouse incorporating Malay and Chinese influences) and beaded shoes.